A Baltimore Circuit Court jury has convicted a 32-year-old man of a sex offense but failed to reach a unanimous verdict on murder, kidnapping and rape charges against him.
The defendant, John Anthony Jones, faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years after being convicted on a third-degree sex offense.
But the jury could not reach a verdict on the most serious charges, which would have given Jones, if convicted, a sentence of at least two life terms. The jury made its decision last night after deliberating for four days.
He now gets a new trial on charges of murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and first-degree rape.
Jones and another man, Gerald Parkey, 32, were charged with the robbery and murder of Willis Madison, 24, and the kidnapping and rape of Madison's 21-year-old fiancee last Nov. 28. Parkey will be tried in November.
Judge John N. Prevas set sentencing on the sex offense for Oct. 18. Prosecutor Laura Mullally said she will ask for a new trial date today.
Several of the jurors, interviewed last night, said that after four grueling days of deliberations, they were forced to settle for a "compromise verdict."
"It [the verdict] didn't make any sense to me," said the jury foreman, who did not want to give his name. "Some of us felt really drained because we were like beating our heads against the wall with the other jurors."
The state's case was built around the testimony of Madison's fiancee, fingerprints recovered from a wine bottle in Madison's home, and genetic evidence linking Jones to an alleged sexual assault on the woman.
"Some of them didn't understand the DNA testimony," the jury foreman said, "so they didn't believe it. The longer we stayed in the jury room, the more confused we got."
Another juror said, "The fact is that you can't send somebody to jail for three fingerprints on a wine bottle. . . . And some of us thought that the woman was not a very credible person."
"There was conflict, there was pressure, a lot of personal feelings involved and a lot of closed minds," said another juror, Raimore Wilson, 21, a student at the New Community College of Baltimore.
Madison, who was dealing drugs at the time of his death, was stabbed in the back 14 times in his Calvert Street apartment. His fiancee allegedly was abducted at gunpoint and driven to two different motels, where she was raped four times by two men.
The woman testified that during the alleged kidnapping she was driven to an auto repair shop, a medical clinic and the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore, where one of the defendants worked. But she said she did not cry for help or run for fear that her family would be hurt.
Defense lawyer Gerald Louis Shipley told the jury in closing arguments that Madison's fiancee allegedly conspired with Parkey to kill Madison. When Shipley suggested to the jury that the woman should also be indicted, one of the jurors, a woman, said, "Amen."