Mistrial in murder case after jury race issue

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The second murder case against a Grand Rapids man has been halted by the judge because of a mistake by the prosecution that resulted in in all three black potential jurors being dismissed.

Cameron Wright, 27, has been accused of killing Curtis Swift, 26, in January 2018. Swift was found shot dead at a home on Grand Rapids' West Side.

Swift was going to be a witness in a case against Wright in the 2013 death of Grand Rapids Christian High School football player Andre Davis. Wright was ultimately convicted in that case last fall.

On Monday, a jury was sworn in for Wright's murder trial, but on Tuesday, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock ruled that the proceedings would need to start over.

The mistrial was declared after Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Kellee Koncki admitted she made an error when eliminating potential jurors.

The judge said there were about 60 people in the jury pool. Those called up for questioning during jury selection included three black people, Koncki said. She eliminated all of them using peremptory challenges. Attorneys have a limited number of such challenges to eliminate members of the jury pool without having to specify a cause.

Koncki said she didn't eliminate any of the jurors because of race. The first elimination, she said, had to do in part with the man's youth.

"Generally college students, people that young, are generally more liberal," Koncki said, explaining that there was a white individual with a similar profile who she also removed.

"Too many young people on our jury, so I struck them both," Koncki said.

She went on to say a second black person, a woman, was eliminated in part because she required too much proof.

Read more at Woodtv.com

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