A juror was dismissed, delaying the verdict in the Jose Urena case, on Thursday afternoon. Juror 12 told the judge she had to fly to Florida this evening and could not be in court for deliberations until Monday morning.
She made known her travel plans almost at the end of the day – 2:39 p.m. The jury began deliberations at 9:50 a.m.
Judge Adam E. Jacobs gave the prosecutor in the case and Urena’s attorney options. He asked if both sides would accept the jury to resume deliberations on Monday morning.
“Let her deliberate for the rest of the day,” said assistant prosecutor Peter Foy.
“We’re at a critical stage right now,” said defense attorney Anthony Iacullo to the judge. He worried the jury will rush to reach a judgment. He suggested excusing the current juror and selecting an alternate juror as replacement.
“My primary concern is forcing a verdict,” said Jacobs. He relived Juror 12 and appointed one of the two alternate jurors as her replacement.
Judge issued fresh instructions to the re-constituted jury. The new jury began fresh deliberations late Thursday afternoon.
When she was picked to be part of the jury she was told she had to remain consecutive days for deliberations. But, there appears to have been a misunderstanding, noted the judge.
The jury went home at 4 p.m. and the judge told them to return at 9 a.m. on Friday to continue their deliberations.
Urena is on trial for the hit-and-run death of Jaquill “Jake” Fields. He was indicted in 2016 on charges of knowingly leaving a scene of a fatal vehicle accident and endangering an injured victim.
The jury heard arguments from both the prosecutors and the defense over the past days.
In the court room, Fields’ family sat on one side and Urena’s on the other. Police officers’ union president Alex Cruz sat close to the officer’s family members in an apparent show of support.
“No comment,” said Cruz when asked if he was there showing his support for the officer.