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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019

Death Row sentence overturned thanks to jury member's tweets

Erickson Dimas-Martinez will be retried because a juror tweeted about the case – and complained about the coffee.

Image: Tim Ireland/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A MAN SENTENCED to die by lethal injection has seen his murder conviction overturned – because a jury member tweeted about the case during deliberations.

Erickson Dimas-Martinez was convicted last year over the killing of teenager Derrick Jefferson in Arkansas, US. He has been on Death Row since his sentencing.

However, the state supreme court ruled last week that tweets posted by juror Randy Franco invalidated the trial, the Times Record reports.

Franco’s tweets included one which read: “Choices to be made. Hearts to be broken. We each define the great line.” This was pointed out to the judge at the time, who asked him to explain it. The juror said it was a reference to a song by Christian band Underoath, because the case involved the death penalty.

Franco also posted “It’s over” from the jury’s closed deliberations, around an hour before the verdict was announced.

Other tweets included “The coffee here sucks” and “Court. Day 5. here we go again”, the BBC reports.

According to the National Post, another juror fell asleep during the trial. In its ruling, the appeal court said: “Because we conclude that the one juror sleeping and a second juror tweeting constituted juror misconduct, we reverse and remand for a new trial.”

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Michael Freeman

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