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A juror's regrets, other events lead to questions about verdict

A juror in a notorious Florida triple murder case recently voted to convict a man of the crimes but days later called the Broward County judge who presided over the case to say he regretted his decision.

Now, the convicted man's defense attorneys want to speak to the juror to try to find out if he was under pressure from other jury members to vote the way he did.

In the case, the 46-year-old defendant was found guilty of the 1994 killings of a 48-year-old man and two 25-year-old women.

This was the third trial in the case. In the first trial, which was held in 1997, there was a hung jury. In 2000, he was convicted and received the death penalty but later was granted a new trial.

The third trial started in late 2018, and he was convicted on Jan. 19. The penalty phase is set to begin Feb. 25.

In this case, defense attorneys filed a motion that also stated they were concerned that the jury had wanted to have the testimony of a DNA expert read back to them, but the verdict was rendered before the testimony was read.

Each juror was polled individually after the verdict was read, and each juror agreed with the guilty verdict.

The defense attorneys also have asked the judge to hold a hearing to find out just what the jurors knew about the long history of the defendant and the case. An alternate juror reportedly said that he heard people talking about the man's previous conviction and that he didn't know about it before. Jurors were not supposed to be aware of the details of the long history of the case.

The judge did set a hearing to study the issues raised.

Even when a guilty verdict is issued, it doesn't mean the case is over. In this case, there are at least three situations that could have led to an outcome that might not have been just. A defense attorney experienced in felony cases will take note of such instances and bring them to the judge's attention.

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