Home News Local news Juror in Potter Murder Trial Arrested, Charged with Perjury

Juror in Potter Murder Trial Arrested, Charged with Perjury


Promising to retry the case against accused murderer Neville Potter Jr., Justice Department officials also announced Thursday they were charging the juror rumored to have sabotaged the deliberations, which resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial.

Meeting with reporters Thursday, Attorney General Vincent Frazer said the government’s attorneys had received "feedback" from other jurors in the case, but said he preferred not to disclose what had been revealed about juror Betsy Brathwaite’s alleged conduct in the deliberation room.

"We did receive information, calls from other jurors after the jury was dismissed, and in some cases, there is not much we can do," Frazer said. "Whatever took place [in the jury room] we have no control over."

Justice Department spokeswoman Sara Lezama announced after the press conference that Brathwaite had been arrested around 4 p.m. Thursday outside her job.

During the press conference, Frazer explained Justice has decided to charge Brathwaite with perjury for not "accurately" filling out her juror questionnaire, and in particular, for allegedly withholding information that she has relatives that are in jail or are currently facing criminal charges.

Given another chance during jury selection, Braithwaite also continued to make "inaccurate and incomplete disclosures to the court," Frazer said.

When the situation was brought to the court’s attention, Judge Brenda J. Hollar — who presided over the Potter trial — issued an order recommending the matter be investigated.

Frazer said Justice was apprised of the situation on Saturday, after jurors deadlocked on a verdict, forcing Hollar to declare a mistrial.

"The information that was provided to us was also provided to the judge…and we had already started our own investigation at that time," he said. Frazer added that charges against Brathwaite, which also includes contempt of court and fraudulent claims upon the government, do not apply to claims that she had deliberately sabotaged the case.

Since Hollar had issued her order as a part of Potter’s case, the jurors would not be able to be called as witnesses, Frazer explained.

A source on the jury, who asked to remain anonymous, said Brathwaite had declared the moment deliberations began that she would not send anyone to jail under any circumstances and would not engage in any discussion of the evidence or of guilt or innocence whatsoever.

Four other jurors were in favor of letting the jury remain deadlocked, the source said. "But the real key was the one juror saying ‘Don’t talk to me, I’m not sending anyone to jail under any circumstances,’" the source said.

The source on the jury requested the Source keep the information off the record until they could speak to other jurors about coming forward. Since then, the information has been published elsewhere.

The source said they later found Brathwaite had one and possibly two close relatives currently facing criminal charges in the territory; facts which would have disqualified her during the jury selection process.

An affidavit subsequently filed with the court by Justice Department Special Agent Cedric Swan Jr. reveals that Braithwaite’s son was facing drug charges in early 2008, while her stepson, Ralph Brathwaite Jr., was arrested last October on first-degree aggravated rape, unlawful sexual contact and child abuse charges.

Ralph Brathwaite Jr. was arraigned in November 2010 and subsequently filed a motion with Hollar petitioning for his release upon posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bail. Hollar, according to Swan’s affidavit, denied the motion during a hearing held early last month.

Speaking Thursday, Frazer said Hollar had found other jurors that had filled out the questionnaire incorrectly but was able to dismiss them before the trial. But Brathwaite, he added, is the only juror, at this point, whose actions have raised a red flag.

"When jurors misinform or provide false information, it compromises our system," Frazer said.

Lezama noted that the developments regarding Brathwaite will not affect Potter’s upcoming retrial, which prosecutors are eager to get back on the court’s docket.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here