As reported here after a King County Superior Court jury exonerated an Alki 18-year-old on Friday in the 10/13/07 deadly shooting inside a car at 59th/Admiral, the trial had one more phase: Since the teen’s legal team had filed a request, as allowed under state law, for compensation for what he’s gone through if it was found that this was justifiable homicide — the jury cleared him on the grounds of self-defense — the jury needed to convene again to consider that part of the case. That took all day today, after which both jurors and the teen’s mother had something to say — read on for our courtroom correspondent’s report:
By Rachel Gabrielle
West Seattle Blog contributing reporter
The recently acquitted defendant in the 59th/Admiral shooting trial entered the courtroom today handcuff-free and with a huge smile for the civil hearing of this case.
Under Washington state law, the former defendant is entitled to compensation, including legal fees (his lawyers worked for free), if there was an acquittal and if the jury based their verdict on reasons of self-defense.
Today, the jury heard succinct statements from both the defense and the State and were asked to answer two questions. Only ten out of the 12 jurors needed to agree on both questions.
The first question simply asked whether or not the verdict was based on self-defense. That answer came back “yes.” The second question asked if they believed the defendant was engaged in criminal activity leading up to the shooting. That answer came back “no,” meaning a full victory for the defense in this case.
Getting both those answers means there will be a future hearing regarding the actual amount that will be awarded. (WSB will report it when that date is set.)
With that verdict, the jury was free to go and free to discuss the case. The defense lawyers and their client wanted to hang around and thank all the jurors for their decision; when the jurors left the courtroom today, all 12 jurors wanted to talk to them.
One juror said, “The only hope we have for [the former defendant] is that he gets the counseling and help that he needs.”
Some of the jurors actually congratulated the attorneys on a job well done. Another juror commented on the police investigation as “botched.” One of them wanted to know more about the criminal history of the man who was killed, 33-year-old Francisco Bailey-Ortiz, which wasn’t allowed as evidence during the trial.
One juror gave the former defendant a hug.
His mother announced, “We say my son was reborn on October 31. We thank you all for this great opportunity in life.” Mostly, all the jurors wanted to wish him the best in life and offer their sympathy, with one last juror saying “make us proud.”
WSB was the only news organization to cover this trial. Our archive of coverage is as follows:
10/13/07: Day-of coverage of the shooting
10/13/08: Trial begins
10/16/08: Jury selection continues
10/20/08: Jury seated
10/21/08: Testimony begins
10/22/08: Testimony continues
10/23/08: Prosecution rests its case
10/27/08: Defendant takes the stand
10/28/08: Defendant’s family testifies
10/29/08: Testimony concludes
10/30/08: Jury deliberations begin
10/31/08: Verdict: Not guilty on all counts; teenager released from jail after more than a year