Mur­der trial de­layed once again

Jury panel dis­missed af­ter judge’s rul­ing

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­

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.

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