Verdict in Ellis case could be set aside due to juror reservations
The case of Andre Ellis, the man convicted of raping two women at Hunter’s Mountain Mobile Home Park, isn’t over yet. A hearing scheduled for next week could set aside guilty verdicts rendered in January.
Despite a move by the District Attorney’s Office to block the hearing, two jurors have been summoned to meet with Judge Jeff Kelley after expressing reservations regarding guilty verdicts returned in the Ellis case, according to court documents.
On Jan. 14, after four days of testimony and two and a half hours of deliberation, a jury found Ellis guilty of two counts of rape in the first degree and one count of burglary in the second degree stemming from two rapes reported in March 2012.
Each member of the jury was polled prior to dismissal to verify the verdicts were unanimous.
On Feb. 5, a court order was issued to have jurors identified as #88 and #130 summoned and subpoenaed for a hearing scheduled for Feb. 27. That order was a result of the jurors contacting court personnel to discuss reservations about the verdicts in the case, according to court documents
A motion filed by the District Attorney’s Office on Feb. 18 asked the judge to set aside his order due to two sworn affidavits by the jurors that they still believe Ellis is guilty, contrary to information reported to court personnel.
Juror #88’s affidavit says, “my decision has not changed and I have remained steadfast and have never doubted our verdict and remain steadfast to this date.”
Juror #130 signed an affidavit that reads, “I stand behind the guilty verdict we delivered. I had numerous questions after hearing numerous rumors that were not presented during the trial. After considering those were just rumors, I no longer have questions about my verdict.”
Kelley denied the state’s motion.
Pending the outcome of the hearing, Ellis is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27.