Jury in Lewis case is mostly black and female

10 jurors are women

10 are African-American

May 23, 2000|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

Most of the 12 jurors in the Lewis case are African-American women, reflecting the population of Fulton County and that more women than men make themselves available for jury duty.

The court has withheld their names and often their ages. But personal information emerged during a selection process in which race, gender and attitudes were factors. Here are brief portraits in the order the jurors were picked:

A retired elementary school teacher and black mother of three listens to oldies radio and brought a copy of Readers Digest to court. Her husband is a furrier, something that might appeal to the defense - one of the men killed was found clutching a mink fiber. Lewis' defense team plans to argue that mink fibers cannot be matched to a coat, such as the one he wore the morning of the killings.

A black mother who appears to be in her 40s is licensed to carry a firearm. She was charged once when her 18-year-old son was pulled over by police while driving her car and the gun was found in the glove compartment. "I didn't know you could get in trouble so fast," she said. Charges were dropped.

A black maid in her 30s owns more than 300 movies on video. Her favorites are mysteries. She says she's correct in guessing the outcome about 85 percent of the time. She once had her nose broken in an assault.

A white administrator for a marketing firm who appears to be in her 20s has gone as recently as March to nightclubs in the Buckhead neighborhood where the killings took place. She was once robbed at gunpoint, but was unable to identify any suspect.

A black football fan once applied to be a policeman in St. Louis but thought better of it when he realized he might have to turn in a lawbreaking friend. He appears to be in his 50s and once served on a jury in federal court in which Lewis' chief attorney represented the defendant. He likes the Ravens, a team he called "a good, competitive football team."

A black woman about 40 describes her neighborhood as "drug-infested." She is a supervisor at an auto auction and, in her spare time, likes to watch real-life cop shows and sing gospel at her church. "A lot of people have been falsely accused," she said.

A mother of a 2-year-old says some rap music is "degrading." The black woman who appears to be in her 40s said she has put on weight since high school and finds people treat her differently, making her sensitive to the unfairly prominent role appearance plays in life. "I like to say, `Don't judge a book by the cover,'" she said.

The only white man on the jury works as a stagehand for a company that sets up equipment for corporate clients and expositions. He's been arrested twice for driving under the influence and used to live in Buckhead. He appears to be in his 40s.

A black woman who appears to be in her 30s has served twice before on juries. The account manager for a loan company said that after a hit-and-run driver damaged her car, police promised to send a tow truck but didn't. She waited by the road for several hours and later complained to the chief.

A 20-year-old unemployed drugstore cashier listens to rap and watches "Divorce Court" and "Jerry Springer" on TV. She is black, and a single mother.

A black customer service representative for the phone company, who appears to be in her 50s, spends about an hour a day on the Internet. "I'm really not a sports fan," she said.

A nurse at a senior citizens home watches very little football and had never heard of Lewis. "If someone has committed a crime, someone has to stand trial for it," she said. She is black and appears to be about 30.

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