Jurors Refuse to Convict Homicide Defendant to Avoid Sending a “Young Black Man” to Life in Prison
The forewoman of a jury in a Broward County, Florida homicide trial that ended in a mistrial has stepped forward to reveal that her fellow jurors declined to convict Dayonte Resiles of murder on the basis of his race.
Three jurors refused to sign off on a verdict that would convict Resiles of murder, instead insisting on a manslaughter conviction that would earn him a sentence of 15 years in prison. The trial ended in a mistrial on Tuesday when the foreperson refused to certify the jury’s verdict, the judge declaring the trial to end as such after the jury failed to reach a conclusion in additional deliberation.
Resiles, who is black, is accused of stabbing Jill Su, a 59-year old white woman, to death during a home invasion robbery. Resiles’ DNA had been obtained on a knife found at the home and on the belt of a bathrobe Su had been wearing, with the mother found stabbed to death in her bathtub. Resiles escaped from jail two years after his arrest for the murder of Su, being recaptured six days later.
“I don’t want to send a young Black male to jail for the rest of their life or have him get the death sentence,’” the foreperson has quoted of the jurors who opposed a murder conviction, speaking of her experiences with the trial with the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The anonymous forewoman has spoke of racial accusations in the jury deliberation, with at least two jurors accusing her of bias for insisting on a murder charge.
“You can’t call me a racist except in ignorance,” said the forewoman of her deliberations with the jurors. “If it was my brother who was accused and the same set of facts was presented, I could have voted guilty of first-degree murder … That’s what the evidence showed. It’s not a racial thing. It’s a crime. He is the killer. I don’t care what race he is.”
Resiles will be tried again in January, with a new jury evaluating the same evidence and arguments.
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