Murder trial delayed once again
Jury panel dismissed after judge’s ruling
Due to a conflict with the jury selection process, the trial for a Nanjemoy man charged with first-degree murder was delayed once again after the panel was dismissed Wednesday evening, according to prosecutors. The decision resulted from a successful “Batson challenge” from the state, as the judge granted their motion and ruled that the defense had improperly excluded potential jurors based on race, ethnicity or sex.
A new trial date is pending for Raymond Daniel Posey III, 24, who was arrested and held
without bond in March 2015 for the alleged murder of Crystal Keyone Anderson. His arrest came three years after her remains were found near Purse State Park in January 2012 by a hiker who noticed a boot with what appeared to be bone inside, months after her disappearance, according to police.
The ruling was made by Charles County Circuit Court Judge James West after hearing arguments from assistant state’s attorneys Francis Granados and Jonathan Beattie and from Posey’s defense team, headed by Kevin Collins. Of the 20 at its disposal in this case, the defense had used 12 peremptory strikes, which are used to exclude potential jurors without need of reason or explanation, and 10 had been used to exclude white potential jurors when the state motioned for a Batson challenge, according to prosecutors. West found the defense had used its peremptory strikes with purposeful discrimination, and the jury panel was dismissed. Notably, Posey is black.
The Batson challenge originates from a 1986 supreme court ruling in the case of Batson v. Kentucky. James Kirkland Batson, a black man, appealed his burglary conviction on the grounds that his sixth amendment right to an impartial jury and the equal protection clause under the 14th amendment had been violated during jury selection. During the selection process, the prosecutor had used his peremptory strikes to exclude the only four black men on the panel, and the trial proceeded with an all white jury.
This is the second time the trial has been delayed due to a jury issue.
As the trial was about to begin on Tuesday, both the state and defense agreed to select a new jury after three of the four alternates dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
The attorneys will reconvene on Monday for a status conference to schedule a new trial date.
On Aug. 2, 2011, Anderson was reported missing in Prince George’s County, and a detective investigating her disappearance determined she was last seen at a party in Nanjemoy. Despite multi-agency search efforts, she remained missing until the hiker stumbled upon her remains on Jan. 2, 2012.
The following week, detectives methodically excavated a creek bed that spanned more than 1,800 feet and included areas three feet deep in mud and silt with the assistance of dogs from Search and Rescue Dogs of Maryland that are specially trained in detecting human remains, a police report states. The wooded area and creek were searched, resulting in the recovery of more remains and the discovery of clothing consistent with what Anderson was last seen wearing.
In the following month, a medical examiner confirmed that the body found was Anderson.
After further investigation, detectives found that Posey was also at the Nanjemoy party where Anderson was last seen and the two knew each other. Based on their findings, detectives believe that Posey robbed and killed Anderson later that evening.
When lead detective John Elliot was asked if they know what Posey tried to take from Anderson during a press conference last year, he replied, “I do. However, I still think maybe there are some witnesses out there that might know what those specific items are. … I really want to talk to them.”
In July 2015, a second suspect was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of Anderson: Darrayl John Wilson, 25, of Nanjemoy. Authorities have not released any details of Wilson’s alleged involvement, and his trial is scheduled for Oct. 31, per court records.
In a May 2016 indictment, Posey was charged for allegedly attempting to obstruct justice by interfering with witnesses on approximately nine separate occasions, including efforts to influence Wilson through a third party, court records show.
Prosecutors say he was attempting to influence witnesses through jailhouse calls, and after a hearing in June, two men approached a witness outside the courthouse and reportedly offered her $10,000 not to testify. A few weeks later, Charles County Circuit Court Judge James West signed an order that restricted Posey from communicating with anyone other than attorneys while he is confined.