For the past seven days, family members, the press and the public have sat on the hard benches in room 203 watching the murder trial of a former teenage squeegee worker accused of fatally shooting a bat wielding driver in downtown Baltimore, last summer.
The defendant was 14 at the time. WYPR is not naming the defendant, because of his age.
Parties anxiously awaited a verdict or a mistrial ruling by Judge Jennifer Schiffer Wednesday.
“Juror number five has called multiple times,” Schiffer announced. “She indicated that she could not be around people today, citing flu-like symptoms.”
Schiffer then gave the prosecution and defense a moment to digest the news and then respond. One option, said the judge, is to have all jurors return tomorrow. She said the sick juror would have to show a doctor’s note to be excused from service.
“It would be insensitive to have 11 people around a contagious disease,” said Warren Brown, one of the defense attorneys. He then asked for a mistrial. On Tuesday, the jury sent a note saying they were having a hard time reaching a unanimous verdict. They asked for the legal definition of a mistrial.