Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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Nevada Supreme Court:

Court: Dismissal of black woman from jury was not discriminatory; killer’s appeal rejected

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Gerald Wayne Osby

The Nevada Supreme Court on Monday rejected the appeal of a Las Vegas killer who argued a black woman was improperly excluded from serving on the jury at his trial.

Gerald Osby was convicted of the fatal shooting of Justin Jones in Las Vegas on Feb. 27, 2011, after the two had clashed earlier. According to trial information, Osby was at the Parkway Villas to visit his brother when Jones came out of an adjoining apartment and told him to leave. When Osby refused, Jones retrieved a shotgun. Osby left but returned later that day and shot Jones.

Osby was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional 20 years.

His first trial resulted in a hung jury, with one juror dissenting against a conviction. Osby said that lone juror holdout was a black woman.

At a second trial in 2012, the prosecution removed a black woman from the prospective jurors. Attorneys for Osby claimed that was intentional discrimination and the guilty verdict should be overturned.

But the District Attorney's Office said it excused the woman because she appeared very disengaged, her body language was closed, her arms were crossed and folded, and she seemed bored and did not want be there.

The high court upheld the decision of District Judge Charles Thompson, who ruled the prosecution had offered a race-neutral explanation for the juror's dismissal. The Nevada Supreme Court said the demeanor of a prospective juror constitutes a legitimate race-neutral factor in jury selection.

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