Martin C. Evans

Juror Denies Impropriety in Trial of Long Island Soldier

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm

A juror who served in the manslaughter court martial of Pvt. Justin Boyle, testifying at an investigation hearing today at Ft. Bragg, denied telling a sergeant that juror impropriety led to Boyle’s conviction last October.

Sgt. 1st Class David Weiss said at the hearing that the juror, Maj. William C. Davis, approached him at the Ft. Bragg Post Exchange about two weeks after the trial.

Weiss said Davis apologized for Boyle’s conviction, and that Davis said some members of the jury had come into the trial believing Boyle was guilty.

Davis testified today that he did speak with Wiess, but said he made no mention of any impropriety. All nine jurors testified at the hearing that they did nothing wrong.

Boyle’s mother, Fran Boyle, who attended today’s hearing, said she did not believe Davis’ testimony.

“I know I am biased,  but when you think about the testimony SFC Weiss had nothing to lose and MAJ Davis had everything to lose,” Fran Boyle told Newsday.

Boyle, a decorated former sergeant from Long Island’s Rocky Point who has served three tours in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, is seeking a new trial.

Boyle’s lawyer, Daniel Conway, asked Thursday for a mistrial based on Weiss’s testimony, according to The Fayette Observer. He also asked for a mistrial because five of the nine jury members were from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, where one of the prosecutors is the legal adviser.

Boyle was convicted in October of choking to death PFC Luke Brown, of Fredericksburg, Va. during a July, 2008 struggle.

His sentence stripped Boyle of his sergeant’s rank and imposed a two-year jail sentence, to be followed by a bad conduct discharge.

During his trial, defense lawyers had argued that Boyle was only trying to subdue the soldier, who was violently intoxicated and had refused to return to base after a night of heavy drinking at a bar near Ft. Bragg.

A judge is expected to rule next week on whether to grant a retrial.

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