Member of the criminal grand jury assembled David Josiah Lawson case says ‘we have failed’
A criminal grand juror broke silence on their experience during the proceedings that lead to a non-indictment decision in the fatal stabbing of David Josiah Lawson.
Aired live on local television, North Coast News reporter Nazy Javid sat down with the anonymous juror that said the process was a “gross failure” and injustice was done. The juror’s voice was altered and body completely hidden.
“In the instructions that the deputy district attorney gave us, we could not choose to indict if we decided that it was self-defense,” the juror said.
The anonymous juror said all but one of the 18 jurors were white and 15 of the 18 voted Kyle Zoellner committed the stabbing of David Josiah Lawson.
The juror felt the deliberation process was unstructured and a lot of the jurors thought they had to prove a charge but, “we were not tasked with proving guilt or innocence, only probable cause.” During a trial vote several voted for manslaughter and “four or five voted for murder,” the juror said.
“Because someone that we, that the jury all agreed committed the stabbing, is free to walk in our community,” the juror said when asked why they felt an injustice was done.
Jury selection started February 28 and the proceedings ended March 13. The juror said deliberation lasted about six hours, which wasn’t long enough. One juror in particular, the foreperson pro-tem, insisted that the stabbing was of self-defense and was the one who signed the documents for “no-indictment.”
When asked if there was DNA evidence on the knife, the juror said experts worded it backwards saying “there was one in so many quintillion or septillion chance that the DNA was from someone other than Mr. Zoellner.”
“We have failed,” the juror said.
When North Coast News asked Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming why the case was presented by the deputy district attorney and not herself, Fleming said the DA’s office has several deputy district attorneys with the capability to effectively handle any case and all the roles of a prosecutor, including presentation of information to a grand jury. Fleming said she formally requested the Attorney General take over the case.
“It will be up to that office to decide what further action will be taken,” Fleming said.
The Lumberjack has been following this story. Please stay tune for more in depth updates.