Juror's remark results in mistrial

Monday, May 19, 2008

A mistrial was declared Thursday afternoon in Marshall County Circuit Court where a juror was quoted as saying she thought the defendant looked guilty.

Potential jurors Russell West and Jacqueline Welch testified to Judge Robert Crigler that they heard juror Angela Gugger make the remarks during jury selection for the trial of Victor Lynn Pigg, 30 of Brentwood.

While Gugger denied making the statements, "The judge made the only decision he could," Pigg's attorney, Don Himmelberg, said after court adjourned with a new trial date set for Sept. 4-5.

Himmelberg saw the situation as grounds for an appeal. West and Welch approached Himmelberg after they were dismissed as potential jurors. Welch testified that Gugger said, '"He looks like he's guilty,' that she'd been selected other times (for jury duty) and was going to 'get it over with and vote guilty.'"

Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard asked Welch if Gugger said how her alleged plan would shorten her jury duty. Welch said Gugger didn't say.

Under questioning from Himmelberg and Barnard, West and Welch described how they were seated in front of and next to Gugger who reportedly spoke out loud to no one in particular while the three were still potential jurors among a jury pool of about 30 people.

Court officers said they knew of only one other mistrial here. It was in April last year when the defendant was Darron Keith "Quarterhead" Lyttle, 33, of Seventh Avenue.

Before court convened Thursday morning, Pigg was to have been a codefendant with Toney Deandre Crutcher, 22, whose address was listed as on Phillips Street.

Crutcher decided to plead guilty before jury selection was concluded, so he and his attorney, Jonathan A. Street, went to the judge's chamber for a hearing there so potential jurors wouldn't become aware of that development. Crutcher was scheduled to be sentenced July 23.

Arrest warrants for Pigg and Crutcher say that on Oct. 13, 2006 the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 739 Crick St. and found marijuana and scales.

Crutcher's arrest warrant also states that after the raid he testified under oath in a court hearing that the marijuana was his, according to the warrant against him sworn out by Task Force Agent Tim Miller.

Crutcher was arrested on Oct. 24, 2006, or 11 days after the raid, and Pigg was arrested on May 2, 2007, or more than six months after the raid.