Jury Deadlock ends trial of father in baby’s death

Charlotte Observer, The (NC)
July 31, 1996Section: METRO Edition: ONE & TWOPage: 1 C
ROBIN URIS, Staff Writer
Marcus Stuart’s trial in the death of his infant daughter ended Tuesday with the jury deadlocked.
After more than 14 hours of deliberation, the jury forewoman announced that the panel was hopelessly deadlocked.
One juror, she said, believed Stuart was innocent and could not be swayed. The panel was dismissed Tuesday. Stuart was sent back to jail, where he’s been held without bond for the past year awaiting trial. “It was very frustrating because we all believed he was guilty except for one person, ” said Jeff, a juror who asked that hes last name not be used. “She didn’t think he did the crime, and she wasn’t going to change her mind. She felt there was reasonable doubt.”
Stuart called 911 twice last jUly and told papmedics that his 10-week-old daughter, Megan, wasn’t breathing. The second time, Megan could not be revived. She died of massive head injuries at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.
Pathologist who did an autopsy testified during the trial that the baby had several broken ribs, broken legs and a fractured skull.
The doctors also said that the child would have lost consciousness moments after the fatal blow was delivered.
Stuart was alone with the baby that morning. His wife, Amy, who testified for the state, was working as a manager at Burger King when the incident occurred.
Stuart’s family never doubted his innocence. The family sang “Amazing Grace” in courton Monday and prayed continually throughout the trial. They cried when the state showedautopsy photos of Megan and when Stuart recounted the last moments of his daughter’slife.
.. Just because he was the one who called paramedics doesn’t mean he did it,” said TinaChurch, a first cousin to both Marcus and Amy Stuart. .. All the jury had to do was look at the evidence to find more than enough doubt. What are they, blind?”
Marcus Stuart’s stepmother ran from the courtroom with her arms raised, shouting”Thank God” when she leamed the results of the jury’s deliberations. Prosecutors hadplanned to seek the death penalty if Stuart was convicted.
Family members said Stuart should be released on bond until the new trial, a date for which has not been set.
“This is going to be another year of his life gone,” said Stuart’s aunt, Louise Denny.shouldn’t have to wait in jail when he didn’t do it.”
Stuart’s attorney, Ted Cummings, asked Gaston County Superior Court Judge TimothyPaddy, who presided over the case, to release Stuart. Paddy would not.
“I’m the etemal optimist,” said Cummings.”
just hope it won’t be another year in jail for him.”

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~ by mamadubs on January 14, 2006.

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