It wasn’t until the 96 potential jurors entered Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern’s courtroom Tuesday morning that they learned some of them wouldn’t be sleeping at home for the next few days.
Stern has called for a sequestered jury in the retrial of Kaylon Bailey this week.
Bailey, who turns 37 on Friday, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Kima Evans, 35, at the home of Evans’ mother at 1706 Cambridge Drive on Jan. 13, 2012.
New jurors are hearing the trial because, at the end of the June trial, a juror admitted during deliberations that he’d researched Bailey’s criminal history online.
Stern declared a mistrial after the jury foreman notified her of the information and the juror admitted to the research.
Jurors in court cases are admonished repeatedly not to do any outside research or view news reports about the case.
The goal is to keep the jurors focused on the evidence presented to them.
Stern sent the 13 jurors home to collect clothing and notify relatives that they’ll be sequestered for the next few days. Jurors will stay at an undisclosed local hotel during the trial. The judge told jurors that the case likely will take two to three days.
Exact numbers were not immediately available but seasoned courthouse personnel, from attorneys to security guards, could count only in the single digits the number of times a Criminal Court judge has sequestered a jury here in the past decade.
The court covers the hotel stay and meals of sequestered jurors.
Stern told jurors they would not be able to watch television, read the newspaper, use the Internet or their phones other than to make a call to family at the end of each day. After that call, court security officers will collect the phones.
During the June trial, Bailey’s attorney Mike Acuff presented two alibi witnesses who testified that Bailey was with them around the time of the Evans shooting.
But witnesses contradicted each other.
Sierra and George Lebron Johnson Jr. testified in that trial that Bailey was with them at their Rossville home when the shooting happened. But Bailey’s mother, Cindy Bailey, also testified that her son was with her at her Brainerd-area home about the same time.
Acuff told potential jurors during jury selection Tuesday that he planned to call alibi witnesses.
Prosecutors used evidence of a “dying declaration” from a 911 call recording in which Evans says “Kaylon” before lapsing into a coma and later dying.
Evans' mother and a neighbor also testified in the previous trial that they were present during the call.
Jurors are not aware that this is a retrial.
Prosecutors believe Bailey shot Evans at least five times with a .223-caliber firearm. They did not explain a motive in the June trial.
Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@times freepress.com or 423-757-6347.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...