Jurors in the “21st and Vietnam” murder trial reached another partial verdict Thursday, finding Stanley Moghalu innocent of one count of conspiracy in connection with the December 2011 shooting death of 36-year-old Steven Moore.
The verdict is the fifth in the case; jurors have been deliberating since Aug. 20.
Prosecutors claim Moghalu, Jekwan Smith, Johnnie Harris, and Anthony Hatton are alleged members of a crew called “21st and Vietnam.” The codefendants were charged with 21 counts including conspiracy, first-degree murder, obstruction of justice, assault, and weapons charges related to deaths of Moore, Isaiah Sheffield, and Tyrell Fogle.
Last month jurors found Moghalu and Harris innocent of murder, obstruction, and weapons charges in connection with Moore’s death. Moghalu, 25, was also found innocent on a separate charge of committing a crime while on release.
While Moghalu has been found innocent of the most serious charges in the indictment, he still faces two counts of carrying a pistol without a license, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
The verdict Thursday comes two days after jurors told Judge Lynn Leibovitz that deliberations have been stymied due to one juror’s “disruptive outbursts.”
A note sent from the jury foreperson to Judge Leibovitz Monday described an altercation they had with a juror.
According to the note, on September 25 the juror began crying and screaming during deliberations after accusing the foreperson of “picking on her” because of her opinions about the case. The note said that the juror then attempted to move toward the foreperson and had to be physically restrained by other jurors.
“These outbursts and accusations has delayed the deliberations because [Juror #11]shuts down and refuses to participate,” the note said.
Since the start of deliberations the jury has faced major setbacks. A partial verdict on September 11 was rejected after jurors appeared to be confused about the charges. Since August 20, three jurors have been dismissed from deliberations, forcing the jury to start the decision-making process over each time.
Jurors are scheduled to continue deliberations Friday.