TAMPA - Robin Richter is the former juror who may be the reason twice-convicted rapist Kendrick Morris gets a new trial.
"Did you receive responses on Facebook during trial?” asked Morris’ Defense Attorney. “No, Sir,” said Richter. “None whatsoever?” he questioned again. “No, sir,” she said a second time.
Defense attorney's allege Richter was active on social media while she acted as the jury foreman during the high-profile rape trial. Morris was convicted in early October of beating and raping a teenager at the Bloomingdale Library back in 2008.
"There appears to have been a posting at one point that a comment from you… about one witness testifying all day and that that testimony was ‘boring, boring, boring,’ I believe,” said Morris’ defense attorney. "Two borings, but yes,” Richter said. "Did you make that posting?” he asked. Richter responded, “Yes, I did.”
"The key isn't so much what she wrote on Facebook. It's what she got out of Facebook. In other words, what was she reading on Facebook,” said Tampa Defense Attorney Eddie Suarez.
Suarez is former State Prosecutor and told us if records show Richter took part in an online exchange about the trial, taxpayers may have to pay for a second trial.
"Now more and more judges are being specific about not getting on social media sites. There's a case down in West Palm where a juror looked up a definition of a word on their iPhone and that led to the overturning of the conviction," said Suarez.
Thursday Judge Chet Tharpe said Richter's Facebook records have been subpoenaed, but asked Richter to sign a notarized release to speed-up the process. She signed the documents in court.
"They are going to cooperate with us. Would you be opposed to signing a release to speed the process up?” Tharpe asked Richter. She responded, “Not opposed at all. I'd be glad to do that."
Richter claims she didn't do anything that broke the Judge's instructions, but only Facebook records will show if that's true.
"They were very generic comments. I made nothing in appropriate about the trial," said Richter to the Judge.
Morris' December sentencing date was pushed back and a status hearing was scheduled for February 15th.
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