Ellis trial calls for second alternate juror, restarts deliberations again

Dec 19, 2023, 12:11 PM | Updated: Dec 20, 2023, 9:35 am

Image: Ellis family attorney James Bible, third from left, speaks after Manny Ellis' sister Monet C...

Ellis family attorney James Bible, third from left, speaks after Manny Ellis' sister Monet Carter-Mixon, third from right and sitting down, testified Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023 in the trial against three Tacoma police officers charged in causing Ellis' death. (Photo: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio)

The judge in the trial of three Tacoma cops who are accused of killing Manny Ellis is ordering jurors to start deliberations from scratch.

On Monday, the Ellis family attorney, James Bible, said that a juror who had an illness in the family was replaced by an alternate. Now a second juror had to be replaced when they tested positive for COVID-19.

More news: Accused Tacoma officer testifies in trial over Manny Ellis’ death

If any more jurors test positive for COVID-19, the judge said that the case could be further delayed.

In his instructions to the jury, the judge told the jury members that they had to start their deliberations over because the alternate juror was not present when deliberations began last Thursday.

“A juror’s status was changed from seated to alternate because of their unavailability due to a family concern,” Pierce County Superior Court wrote in a prepared statement. “An alternate juror has joined the other 11 jury members and they have been instructed to restart deliberations.”

Bible said that the judge did hear an accusation of juror misconduct over the weekend, but the judge decided that that person was cleared to remain on the jury.

Three officers are charged with manslaughter – and two, with an additional charge of second-degree murder – after Ellis died in their custody.

Prosecutors argue that Ellis suffocated, while defense attorneys say meth and a heart condition ultimately killed Ellis.

More on the Ellis Trial: Family attorney: Evidence ‘suggests’ he was choked ‘on purpose’

Bible said that the juror change will likely cause a delay in the verdict, though he points out the new juror should already be up to speed in the case.

The jury is set to deliberate until Dec. 22, and if a verdict is not reached by then, the jury will resume in the New Year, on Jan. 2.

Contributing: Heather Bosch

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