130814RayAug. 14, 2013

“FARMVILLE – A juror in the trial of Robert F. Kelly Jr. testified Wednesday that it was an ‘amazing coincidence’ that information from a magazine article appeared in his notes about jury deliberations.

“Dennis T. Ray insisted during a hearing on Kelly’s bid for a new trial that he did not use information from a Redbook article about child molestation to evaluate Kelly’s guilt. Ray denied that he compared Kelly to characteristics of a molester listed in the article.

“But defense attorney David Rudolf vigorously attacked Ray’s credibility by referring to notes Ray made during the deliberations. Rudolf cited numerous phrases from the magazine article, such as ‘vast amount of child pornography’ and ‘sex fiend’ which were identical to phrases in Ray’s notes.

“Rudolf, his voice rising, asked Ray whether it was just coincidence that so many phrases from the magazine appeared word-for-word in his notes. Ray replied that ‘it must be’ because jurors did not have the article in the jury room. ‘The only explanation you have for this is that it is an amazing coincidence?’ Rudolf asked. ‘Yes, sir,’ Ray said.

“In another sharp exchange, Rudolf questioned Ray’s contention that he did not describe the article in an interview with a producer for (“Innocence Lost”). Ray said he told her (only) that there were books in the jury room. Rudolf: ‘You are under oath, sir.’ Ray: ‘I do not remember saying that to her. No, sir.’ Rudolf: ‘Did you say it or not? You are under oath.’ Ray: ‘I do not believe that I did.’

“Rudolf then played video tapes of the program that showed Ray describing the article. Ray said after viewing the video that he did not remember it.”

– From “Kelly lawyer attacks juror’s credibility” in the News & Observer (Jan. 20, 1994)

Dennis T. Ray seems to have been quite a loose cannon in the jury room. In addition to the “amazing coincidence” of the Redbook article, Ray also (according to other jurors cited in Bob Kelly’s appellate brief) “made visits to Edenton despite instructions by the trial court not to.

Mr. Ray also claimed to have talked with an inmate at Eastern Correctional Institution. According to Mr. Ray, the inmate, a convicted child molester, claimed to know Bob Kelly, and to have personal knowledge of Mr. Kelly’s guilt. The jurors said that Mr. Ray also displayed some sort of object that he claimed to be a ‘magic key’ referred to by several children.”

Unpersuaded that any of this mischief might have contaminated the jury’s decision-making, Judge Marsh McLelland rejected Bob Kelly’s motion for a new trial.