Crime and Punishment

Murder Conviction Might be Overturned Because Thirsty Juror Hit on Witness via Facebook

At least someone is using the Facebook Inbox.
(Photo: Wikipedia)

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Every once in a while a message on Facebook is actually useful, and this is one of those times. A Tennessee Supreme Court said that a message delivered on the social networking site between a juror and a witness could overturn a murder conviction and a life sentence.

The 2010 murder case of suspect William Darelle Smith was sent to a lower court Tuesday because the content of the message wasn’t revealed during a pretrial hearing and it potentially could’ve affected the outcome of the trial. The juror sent a message to the assistant medical examiner heaping praise on her testimony and inquiring if she saw him in the juror stand.

The exchange only came to light after the assistant medical examiner reported it during deliberations. In a 14-page unanimous opinion, the state’s Supreme Court could push the case back to trail and reverse Mr. Smith’s lifelong prison conviction. In a statement to the Court of Appeals, Mr. Smith wants it established that the message didn’t affect the jury’s decision.

This all stems from the June 2007 shooting death of Zurisaday Villanueva. Court documents reveal that Mr. Smith confessed to police that he killed her.

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