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Entries in Najah Riddle-Johnson (1)

Saturday
Oct232010

From Juror to Witness: Shocking Courtroom Declaration

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- A juror in a domestic abuse case in Cincinnati stunned the courtroom by declaring she was the anonymous telephone caller who dialed 911 to send police to the scene of the crime.  It happened during opening statements this week just after the prosecutor laid out the case.  Jurors don't hear details of a case during jury selection.

The judge declared a mistrial because the juror's statement that she thought the suspect was killing the victim created prejudice for the rest of the jurors.  The defense attorney says he was shocked and the prosecutor said he was astonished.  The judge said he had never seen anything like it in 33 years on the bench.

It happened Tuesday in Hamilton County Court.  Juror Najah Johnson-Riddle was sitting in the jury box with the 11 other members of the panel.  Prosecutor Ryan Nelson had just detailed the case against James Capell, a previous offender who has pleaded not guilty in this case.  Nelson told the court Capell broke into the victim's home, beat her in the face with his keys, bit her and choked her.  A neighbor heard the commotion and called 911 anonymously.  Nelson said Capell was able to subdue the victim when police arrived, so they left.  The beating allegedly resumed but the victim was able to call a relative to try to get police to return.  When they did, Capell was arrested and charged.

Riddle-Johnson burst out that she had made the first 911 call.  The judge halted proceedings.  Riddle-Johnson will move to another part of the courtroom when a new trial is held.  She will be a witness for the prosecution.

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