People v. Hensley

After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. After the penalty phase, the trial court declared a mistrial because the jury was unable to reach a penalty verdict. After a second penalty phase, the jury returned a verdict of death. The Supreme Court reversed the death sentence due to prejudicial juror misconduct and affirmed in all other respects, holding (1) the trial court did not commit prejudicial error during the guilt phase; but (2) there was a substantial likelihood that one juror was influenced or biased against Defendant by an improper conversation he had with his pastor during penalty deliberations and that the juror’s vote to impose the death penalty was not based solely on the evidence and instructions. Remanded for retrial of the penalty phase and resentencing on all counts. View "People v. Hensley" on Justia Law