By Bruce Bean
An all White Hemet jury has been accused of alleged improprieties in a declaration given to the Black Voice News by a member of that jury.
The juror, in a declaration to the court, spoke of jurors speaking of Black people as those people, negotiating on a plea and discussing the defendants sentencing.
In his declaration on behalf of Kenneth Williams, Juror Jim Chambers said that he changed his vote from not guilty to guilty because one of the jurors explained to the jury that if they found Williams not guilty of attempted murder and attempted voluntary manslaughter and guilty on the other counts then Williams would receive a sentence of six years and would be out in two. The all White jury convicted Williams of firing into an occupied vehicle with an automatic weapon and he faces 37 years in prison. Chambers also said that Williams and other African Americans were referred to as those people when someone asked why anyone would wear a ski jacket with shorts. Those people act macho and wear ski jackets in the summertime, was the response that Chambers received according to his declaration.
I thought it was a prejudiced term, Chambers said in a phone interview. I took it as that. I was shocked to learn afterwards what his sentence was. I just thought that I made the worst mistake of my life. And I went, called the [judges] secretary, and told her that I had made the worst mistake of my life.
According to Williams attorney, Chad Hughes of Los Angeles, Williams got into a confrontation with his ex-girlfriend and her then boyfriend in an apartment building in Hemet. During the first confrontation, Williams sisters arrive and attacked his former girlfriend Esther Wright. According to Hughes and witnesses who were at the scene, Williams helped break up the fight before getting into an argument with Wrights boyfriend, Yves Pierre.
During a second confrontation that day, Pierre was reported to have a gun by several witnesses who were present. During this confrontation, Hughes said that Pierre doused a flammable liquid on Williams and then used a lighter to try to set him on fire but instead burned his own mouth and hand.
During a final confrontation in front of Williams house, the alleged victims arrived with another carload of friends. Witnesses reported seeing two cars coming down the street with the lights out. According to Hughes, during their testimony his testimony in court Pierre said that both parties were outside of the car when Williams fired upon the vehicle with a semi-automatic rifle that he had hidden in the bushes next to his house.
According to the DAs investigator report, a neighbor said that she heard two different guns being fired and witnessed the alleged victims arrival.
I dont think we got a fair trial in Hemet, Hughes said. I dont think the jury reflected the community involved.
I think the sixth amendment issue here is a huge community issue because the whole community is disadvantaged by that. If you dont have a fair jury, you just dont have a fair system.
According to documents given to BVN both alleged victims told police in the beginning, that the final incident happened in another location in the city of Perris. Chambers said that the jury heard about the first police report but disregarded it because some members did not want to see Williams go completely free.
Investigator James Blake said that it was during his investigation that he discovered that incident took place in front of Williams home where his fiancé and children were. Both alleged victims later told different stories to match the new evidence and have since recanted and said that they lied in their sworn testimony.
It became clear to me the very next day when I went to his house that this incident had occurred in front of his house and not at another location, Blake said. I noticed upon arriving at his house skid marks that led across to the street to a mailbox that had been knocked down.
I saw a hubcap that was laying out there and that led me to go in search of the vehicle and I noticed that the dents on the car were consistent with the mailbox being knocked down and the hubcap actually matched the vehicle. I put two and two together and proved that the vehicle had been in front of his house and whatever occurred, occurred at his house and not two miles away.
Blake said that the DA changed the location of the crime scene the day that the trial was set to start. The District Attorneys office was not available for comment on this story at press time. Hughes and Chambers both said that they believed that Williams was acting in self-defense.
I spoke to three or four jurors after whom I thought were very receptive and found out that they had resolved every question against me and disregarded our independent witnesses, Hughes said. After speaking to them I concluded that they just did not like the defendant.
One of my witnesses was [a lady] who lived across the street from Kenny who witnessed the two cars, one with three Black males in it, driving down the street and heard two different sets of gun shots. Most members of the jury just disregarded that testimony and instead believed the story of [Wright], who has told four different stories.
Hughes said that he has filed a motion for a new trial based on Chambers declaration the alleged victims recantations. Williams goes back to court on the December 17.
In another case that was reported by BVN, an investigator said that an alleged victim in that case is lying and he doesnt understand why the case has gone so far. Larry Rupp said that he investigated the Tarrell Boyd case when it was first filed for the defense attorney who was handling the case.
He said that he discovered that alleged victim Luther Price was not being truthful in his testimony about that case. 19-year-old Boyd of Perris has been in jail in Murrieta for almost five months. Boyd is charged with a strong-arm robbery that he said was just a misunderstanding. His alleged victim, 18-year-old Price, said that he didnt want to see things go as far as they have. Both young men said told the BVN the whole thing is a mistake and that no robbery ever happened.
This thing is a mess, said Rupp. Im the one who told his mother that if it is your son and you feel that he is innocent dont let it drop.
What it boils down to is that Lucas is lying and I had to be real careful because I could be accused of intimidating a witness. I went by there quite a few times and something just wasnt ticking right.
This case began February of this year when Price, who dated Boyds sister briefly, was seen cheating with another girl. Boyds sister had purchased a ring, a watch and a necklace for Price. When Boyd asked Price for the jewelry back an argument ensued.
I told him that I didnt want him speaking to my sister anymore, Boyd said in a taped conversation from the Murrieta jail. I told him to give me back the jewelry and we got into a confrontation about that.
Boyd said that Price eventually agreed to give him the jewelry and he left.
Five months later on July 3, he was arrested and charged for allegedly pulling a gun on Price and taking everything that he had. If he is convicted Boyd will have to serve up to 85% of his sentence even though he has never been arrested. The only evidence that a crime was committed is Prices word against Boyds. One alleged witness has disappeared and her mother forbids the other from taking part in the trial because she is a juvenile, Boyd said.
Price spoke briefly with a BVN reporter and said that he really just wanted the whole thing to be over with. He also said that he tried to drop the charges with the District Attorneys office, but was told that it was the DAs office who was filing charges and that he would be compelled to testify or face perjury charges. During a later conversation, he refused to talk with a reporter.
The DAs office would not comment on the specific case, but said that they reviewed evidence and based on a police report decide if a crime has been committed. Boyds original trial date was postponed.
Rupp would not comment on facts of the case but he said that Boyd was just trying to defend his sister.
In this case the one who really has something to hide is Lucas, he said.
And he is using his position as a victim to hide behind and not be confronted with [the truth] unless it goes to the court. And thats what everybody is afraid of because if there is the slightest possibility that
Tarrells going to be convicted of armed robbery that is ridiculous because the intention was never even there. Tarrells intention was to protect his sister.
This whole thing stinks, he says. I strongly suggest that everyone sit down in a neutral spot and get to the bottom of this whole thing because the one who is losing out is Tarrell.
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