Local News

Jury Deadlocks; Mays Gets Life

Posted September 14, 1998

— Kawame Mays won't die for killing a Raleigh police detective. Jurors deciding his fate deadlocked.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a Wake County jury came back and asked Judge Donald Stephens what they should do if they could not reach a unanimous decision and what would happen if they could not reach a unanimous decision.

The judge advised the group that he couldn't advise them other than that they had to try again. A few minutes later, they came back and told him they were deadlocked by a vote of 8 to 4. The foreman did not say if the majority voted for the death penalty or life in prison.

"The court finds and concludes that the jurors are hopelessly divided on issue number four," says Judge Stephens. "That the jurors are deadlocked on that issue and therefore no further deliberations will assist the jurors in arriving at a unanimous decision."

As required by law, Stephens sentenced Mays to life in prison.

While Mays stood in the courtroom to receive his sentence, Stephens told him he was an ``extremely dangerous person who has no respect for life.''

Mays has demonstrated ``a complete disregard for and indifference to the lives and safety of others,'' the judge said.

Mays' family was relieved. His mother, Welda, paused briefly for comfort from Patricia Hale, Paul Hale's mother. Defense Attorney Johnny Gaskins says this was the most difficult trial he has ever tried.

"We are just happy we survived this. And hopefully, everyone, all the families involved, can put this behind them and get on with their lives."

The jury deliberated for about 10 hours over two days.

In Mays' first trial four months ago, a jury convicted Mays in the death of Michael Walker, a man who had been involved in a drug deal with Mays earlier the same day Hale was killed. The detective was shot to death during a stakeout for Mays, who was wanted in Walker's death. Both Hale and Walker were 34.

Jurors deadlocked 11-1 on a verdict in the Hale case and a mistrial was declared. The same jurors later sentenced Mays to life in prison for Walker's death.

In both trials, Mays, of Queens, N.Y., testified that he didn't know Hale was a policeman when he shot him in the face from just inches away; he said he thought he was a friend of Walker's coming to avenge his shooting.

Other witnesses, however, testified that Mays knew Hale was a policeman when he shot him.

Johnny Gaskins, one of Mays' attorneys, said the case was the most difficult case he had ever been involved with during his career.

``We're just happy we've survived this and hopefully everyone, all of the families involved, can now put this behind them and get on with their lives,'' Gaskins said.

The mothers of Hale and Mays embraced after the sentencing. Both women spoke during the trial, although Patty Hale, the detective's mother, did so outside the jury's presence.

Hale's widow, Connie, who had wanted a death sentence, removed a black band from the badge her husband wore and she had held onto during the trial - a sign that she would try to move on with her life.

When asked if she had anything to say to Mays, she responded: ``He is not worth my breath. He is not worth another tear out of my eye. His name will never be spoken in my home again.''

The Associated Press contributed to this online report.


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