The trial of a Fort Washington man charged with the death of a Prince George’s County police officer ended in a mistrial today after a juror decided she couldn’t render a verdict during deliberations.
Kevon Neal, 24, of the 3400 block of Gennene Lane in Fort Washington, was accused of leading police on a high speed chase in August 2012 in which county police officer, Adrian Morris, was killed after wrecking his cruiser, according to police reports. Morris was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from his vehicle, according to reports.
Neal was on trial for vehicular manslaughter, according to court records.
The mistrial occurred after a juror was unable to pass judgment on Neal, said John Erzen, Prince George’s County state’s attorney spokesman. The judge, Michael Pearson, has set a hearing on Feb. 24 to determine whether the juror should be held in contempt, Erzen said.
Erzen was unable to say why the juror could be held in contempt, and Pearson was not immediately available for comment.
The Prince George’s County public defender’s office, which represented Neal, did not immediately return phone calls by press time.
The trial started Monday, with jury deliberations beginning about 3 p.m. Wednesday, Erzen said. That evening, the juror emailed Pearson, claiming she couldn’t pass a verdict on Neal for religious reasons, Erzen said. The juror gave no indication during selection that religion would be a problem, Erzen said.
The juror was asked why she couldn’t pass a verdict, and instead of referencing religion, the juror told the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys that she didn’t have “a dog in the fight,” he said.
County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks commented on the juror action’s in a statement after the mistrial.
“The actions of this juror are a disgrace,” Alsobrooks said in the statement. “This is a very serious matter in which a police officer lost his life, and it appears this juror simply did not take their role seriously at all.”
The state’s attorney’s office plans to re-try the case, but a date for the retrial has not been set yet, Erzen said.
Neal will remain in jail, being held on no-bond status, he said.