Defense attorney in Brian Gale trial alleges juror misconduct - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Defense attorney alleges juror misconduct

MCINTOSH CO., GA (WTOC) -

Judge Jay Stewart will now decide whether or not Brian Gale will get a new trial.

Gale was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and contributing to the deprivation of a minor after his stepson died in a McIntosh County swamp.

On Tuesday, the defense grilled a juror from the case about communication he had with one of the witnesses during the trial.

The juror, Michael Sinclair, admitted to Facebook messaging and texting Christoper Head during the trial. Head is the victim's brother.

"There was no jury tampering going on if that is what you're getting at. We never talked about the trial. We never talked about which way I was going to go with the verdict. We never talked about verdicts at all," Sinclair told the court.

According to the defense, Sinclair communicated with Head four times throughout the trial.

The first time they say was on the first day of trial via Facebook message. The message said: "I've been going to college to study criminal justice. I added you because if you needed someone to talk to, I am always on Facebook during my spare time. Maybe when everything is said and done, we can grab a beer or something."

Later during the trial, defense attorney Carlton Gibson says Sinclair sent Head a text that read: "Hi, how are you doing? I hope the trial goes well."

"Why would you tell him to reach out to you?" Gibson asked.

"Because I wanted to be his friend," Sinclair responded.

Sinclair and Head went to high school together, but Sinclair said that didn't impact his decision.

According to the defense, Sinclair ignored warnings from the baliff not to talk to the witness.

"After the baliff told you on the first or second day of trial not to communicate with Mr. Head, did you have further communications with him before you returned your verdict?" Gibson asked.

Sinclair responded, "Yes."

The prosecutor argued Gale is entitled to a fair trial, but not a perfect trial. He told the judge the communications were not specifically about the case so Gale should not get a new trial.

The judge will likely decide in a few weeks.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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