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Fourth Juror Dismissed from James Holmes Trial

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 16, 2015 9:55 AM

Another juror bites the dust.

The original jury in Colorado shooter James Holmes' trial just keeps getting smaller and smaller as yet another is dismissed. Last week, we wrote about how three jurors were dismissed for improper discussion of outside information.

This week another juror was dismissed for possible bias.

An Accident?

At 3 a.m. last Wednesday morning, a Colorado man was at an ATM. He was approached by a stranger who asked for a cigarette. Instead of saying thank you for cigarette, the stranger shot the man three times.

As it turns out, this man happens to be the brother-in-law of one of the jurors, Juror 901, for James' Holmes trial. Initially, Juror 901 asked the judge for permission to visit her brother-in-law at Denver Health Medical Center. The jurors were instructed to not visit any sites involved in the July 20, 2012 shooting. Many of the victims were taken to Denver Health Medical Center, so it's off limits to the jurors.

When asked why she wanted to go to the hospital, Juror 901 told the judge that a family member was involved in a "major accident." A bit of an understatement.

Not an Accident

The next day, Juror 901 came clean and told the judge about the shooting. The defense made a motion to dismiss Juror 901 for possible prejudice against Holmes. Jurors can be dismissed once trial starts for many reasons, including sleeping, not paying attention, improper discussion of the case, hearing or reading news stories about the case, or bias and prejudice.

When asked, Juror 901 insisted that she could remain fair and impartial. However, the judge believed that Juror 901 was unforthcoming when she first characterized the shooting as a major accident. In court, Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. said, "I'm not willing to risk allowing a juror that I'm not completely confident can be fair and impartial make any decisions in this case, so she will be dismissed," reports CBSDenver.

So now, the jury, which once had 24 members, now consists of only 20 jurors and alternates. Jury members still do not know yet who will be alternates and who will be the 12 that decide the case.

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