Two jurors who vented to Facebook during a Clinton Township man’s murder trial may have caused a mistrial. Macomb County jury foreman Harvey Labadie complained to Facebook about being picked for jury duty and posted about the murder case while it was being tried, the Detroit Free Press reported. Fellow juror Gary Ludwig posted the verdict and about his awareness that the case had been in the news to Facebook less than four hours after the jurors came to a guilty verdict in the murder case. The defense attorneys believes Ludwig’s post suggests he had been reading media coverage of the alleged murder before the trial concluded.
Harvey Labadie’s Facebook activity and Gary Ludwig’s Facebook posts were disclosed in the request for a new trial for convicted first-degree murderer Terry Wilson of Clinton Township, Michigan. The mistrial information cited at least one post that was made from the juror’s room in a Mt. Clemens county courthouse.
Terry Wilson was found guilty of first-degree murder after the 21-year-old man was charged with shooting his childhood friend William Clark during a disagreement at a park in Clinton Township. Wilson was also found guilty of a felony firearms offense, the Detroit Free Press reported. A hearing about the mistrial motion is set for June 16. Wilson’s attorneys believe that the defendant’s right to an impartial jury and a fair trial were violated by the actions of the jurors. The jurors’ Facebook posts had been set to public and Wilson’s law firm found them on June 2, the same day that Wilson’s trial concluded.
The motion for a mistrial said that two Facebook posts on May 28 and May 31 are the questionable posts they believe to be in violation of Wilson’s trial rights. USA Today reported that the mistrial motion states:
“More importantly, Mr. Labadie makes comments that suggest that he is considering the possible penalty in his decision and that he is already predisposed to a certain verdict. Those comments were made before deliberations and before the jury reached a verdict.”
Wilson’s conviction, which may be rendered invalid, was based on a shooting on May 5, 2013 at Prince Drewry Park. Wilson testified at the trial that he believed that he was going to be assaulted after he stole an Xbox that belonged to the shooting victim’s brother.
Attorney Khalid Sheikh filed the motion for a new trial on Wednesday on behalf his client Terry Wilson. According to the Macomb Daily, Sheikh wrote, “The outside influence on the jury and the resulting guilty verdict have created a travesty of justice.”
Prosecutor Jurij Fedorak responded Friday that he is confident the guilty verdict in Wilson’s murder trial will stick, because the jurors’ Facebook posts were “innocuous” and do not warrant a mistrial. Take a look, then comment below. Do you believe that the jurors’ Facebook posts were harmless to the fair trial of Terry Wilson?