Navy court-martial stalls after jurors are eliminated

April 04, 2007|By Bradley Olson | Bradley Olson,sun reporter

WASHINGTON -- The court-martial of a former Navy football player accused of sexually assaulting two female midshipmen stalled before it started yesterday after all five new prospective jurors were barred from joining the four military officers who made it through a vigorous screening process Monday.

Before the trial of Kenny Ray Morrison, 24, can get under way, the judge and lawyers will have to screen a third pool of jury candidates today in hopes of acquiring a fifth member.

Four of the five who came to the noisy, hot courtroom in the Washington Navy Yard yesterday were eliminated after they told a military judge they would be inclined to drum Morrison out of the Navy if he is found guilty of the offenses, even if they were given other instructions at the time of deliberations.

The fifth jury candidate was rejected after he told a Navy prosecutor that he could not vote to convict beyond a reasonable doubt if the case boiled down to an alleged victim's testimony.

A Kingwood, Texas, native and former backup linebacker, Morrison stands accused of two counts of indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer. He is alleged to have had nonconsensual sex with one woman during a rowdy party in a Georgetown hotel in February 2006 and with a second at a home in April 2006.

bradley.olson@baltsun.com

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