Robert Bush 5 p.m., Jan. 23
Juror Excused From Rape Trial Deliberations
“Am I willing to deliberate any further on this case?” the male juror asked for clarification. “Right,” said Superior Court Judge Richard Mills. “No,” the juror replied.
The jury had been deliberating for about one day in a sexual assault case, and several notes were already sent out from the jury room to the judge. “I have a note from four different jurors who say you are not willing to deliberate,” Judge Mills said to Juror Number Three after the juror was called into the courtroom while the rest of the jury waited in the hall.
The jury heard two weeks of testimony alleging that Jeremy Stutzman, now 34, kidnapped and assaulted two young women who were his neighbors in the same Vista apartment complex, one year ago. Both alleged victims, then 19 and 20 years old, testified that Stutzman hog-tied them and gagged and blindfolded them during the ordeal.
Juror Number Three was excused after the judge asked if he was willing to listen anymore during deliberations and he replied “Hell no” and “I feel I’ve already discussed enough” and “I’d rather discontinue, yes sir.” Both defense and prosecution attorneys were allowed to question this juror before everybody agreed that the juror would be excused and another male juror, an alternate, would replace him.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations all over again, from scratch, after today’s lunch break at San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.