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A juror triggered a last-minute mistrial in a murder case Thursday when he admitted breaking the judge's rule against doing research outside the courtroom.
Jurors in Kaylon Bailey's trial over the shooting death of Kima Evans last year had listened to two days of emotionally loaded testimony. They returned Thursday morning for instructions and deliberations. All that was left was a verdict.
An hour into deliberations, foreman Hank Swanson said jurors were talking about the possible motive for the shooting when a male juror piped up.
"This guy stood up and said, 'Well, I done some research and [Bailey's] been in jail for eight years on cocaine charges,'" Swanson recounted.
Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern had instructed jurors at the start of the trial and multiple times thereafter not to do any outside research. She told them they were to base their decisions only on what was presented in court.
Swanson said he knew he had to tell the judge about the errant juror. The man Swanson referred to did not comment to the media about what happened.
Stern declared a mistrial, telling jurors that the comments tainted their decision-making process. She set an Oct. 18 date for a new trial.
Evans, 35, died Jan. 13, 2012, while sitting in his mother's silver Mercedes in the driveway of her home at 1706 Cambridge Drive.
Prosecutors Bates Bryan and Jason Demastus showed evidence that Evans had been shot at least five times by .223-caliber bullets.
The mother's 911 call captured Evans telling her that Kaylon Bailey had shot him.
No eyewitnesses came forward in the slaying.
On Wednesday, defense attorney Mike Acuff called Sierra and George Lebron Johnson Jr. to the stand. Both testified that Bailey was at their Rossville home when the shooting happened. Both are children of George Lebron Johnson Sr., who is charged with being an accessory after the fact in Evans' death.
Shortly after they testified, prosecutors called Cindy Bailey, Kaylon's mother, who testified that her son was at her Brainerd-area home at the same time.
Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...