Jury selected with one hiccup

Former juror says someone told him to give Holden a favorable verdict
Mar. 27, 2014 @ 06:11 AM

After two days in court, a 12-person jury is ready to hear opening statements today in the trial of 18-year-old Jaquareus Thomez Holden.

An even number of men and women were selected. Five jurors are black and seven are white.

Two alternative jurors were also chosen. Both are male. One is black; the other is white.

Holden is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2011 shooting death of his mother, Letitia Renee Hammond.

He was 15 years old when he was arrested.

Autopsy reports show Hammond was shot at least six times at close range.

Though 12 jurors were selected around noon Tuesday, one of them later was dismissed by the judge after he reported being approached about the trial outside of court Monday night.

The former juror said he was identified as a juror in the trial by someone he believed is a relative of Holden.

That person suggested the former juror use his position on the jury to deliver a favorable outcome for Holden.

During a brief recess, the former juror explained the incident to Vance County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, Assistant District Attorney Allison Capps, and Holden’s defense attorney, Jerry Stainback.

“We can’t have that going on during this trial, and we need to stop this now,” Ridgeway said.

Ridgeway requested the Vance County Sheriff’s Office investigate to determine the individual’s identity.

Opening statements are expected to begin today.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.