Questions of Juror Misconduct Continue in Two-Defendant Murder Case

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On May 25, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan heard testimony from a witness and a juror regarding their personal relationships and ties to two murder defendants. The juror found them guilty of all charges, but there are concerns she may have been biased against the suspects.

Robert Moses, 24, and James Mayfield, 23, were found guilty in December 2022 of conspiracy while armed, first-degree murder while armed, two counts of assault with intent to kill, and one count of assault with intent to kill while armed when the victim was especially vulnerable due to age, among other charges. These charges were in connection with a shooting that took place on Aug. 10, 2017, on the 1400 block of Montana Avenue, NE, which led to the death of 17-year-old Jamahri Sydnor. 

On April 7, attorneys questioned a witness about his friendship with the defendants and his romantic relationship with the juror, who is alleged to have committed misconduct due to her  knowing the defendants in high school. 

The witness, who is charged with first-degree murder for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Rafiq Hawkins on March 23, 2019, stated he and the juror were seeing each other before his arrest. 

During one of their conversations, he alleges, they discussed Moses and his arrest for the murder of Sydnor. 

According to the witness, the juror said that if someone was arrested for something they were definitely guilty. 

Four years later, she served on the jury for Sydnor’s murder, and was part of the 12 jurors that deliberated and found Moses and Mayfield guilty of all charges. 

Judge Maribeth Raffinan questioned her regarding her high school education, the year she graduated, and the people she knew at Washington Math Science Technology (WMST) High School. 

According to the juror, she never knew or interacted with Moses or Mayfield, and her relationship with the witness was never more than “friend of a friend”. 

She said that, prior to being picked as a juror in this trial, she had heard of the case as it had a lot of media coverage, but insisted she never discussed the case or the defendants with anyone. 

A hearing was scheduled for July 12 to determine next steps in the case.

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