Juror dismissed in Skagit murder and abuse trial



Day 27 in the Skagit murder and abuse trial as a juror is dismissed for talking to his wife.
Turns out -- she works in the prosecutor's office.

After six weeks of testimony, jurors finally started deliberating charges that could send Larry and Carri Williams to prison for the rest of their lives.

Within minutes, they were told to stop.

Prosecutors learned Juror No. 1 was asked by fellow jurors to be the foreman. The juror declined, saying he would feel awkward because his wife is an administrator in the prosecutor's office.

"I think (juror) number one needs to be dismissed without a doubt," said Larry Williams' attorney, Rachel Forde, to the court.

Judge Susan K. Cook asked the juror about the conversation. He admitted it happened and seemed surprised it was enough to get him kicked off the panel now.

"I think we're going to need to excuse you from the jury," Judge Cook told the juror.

We asked Forde, "Why was he allowed on the jury in the first place?"
"I wasn't really concerned. I asked him straight out would this be a problem for you? I don't think he was misrepresenting at the time," she said.

We checked — it's legal for any citizen to be on a jury, if the attorneys agree to it.
The rest of the jury was brought in to court and told to wait for one of two remaining alternates to join them, then start deliberations all over again.

"What that means is you have to start over from ground zero," Cook told the group.

The Williamses — a former Boeing worker and a stay-at-home mom -- face homicide and assault charges, accused of beating their adopted son Immanuel and causing their adopted daughter Hana to starve and freeze to death.

We wanted to know what would have happened if the juror had stayed on the case and asked, "If he had been allowed to stay on the jury and the Williams were convicted would you have had grounds for appeal?"

"Certainly that's an important thing to consider on appeal. Hopefully there won't be appeal," said Forde.

Since jurors had to start from scratch, they had to rewrite several questions for the judge.

They wanted to listen to Carri's 911 call and her interview with a detective at the hospital after Hana died.

The jury did not reach a verdict and was excused for the weekend. Jurors will resume deliberations Monday morning.


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