Judge Pamela Baschab has denied former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s motion for a mistrial in his criminal case.
His defense moved to set aside the verdicts in the two counts where he was found guilty and either declare a mistrial or grant a new trial.
The defense based the request on a juror saying she did not intend to vote for a guilty verdict on those two counts.
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A bombshell development in the former Limestone County Sheriff’s corruption conviction.
Juror Sue Pentecost has come forward with an affidavit saying she felt forced into giving Mike Blakely a guilty verdict. Now, she says a mistrial should have been declared on those two guilty verdicts.
She says, "I understand I told the judge that was my verdict, but that was incorrect, not truthful, and I'm ashamed of myself for not saying something when I was asked. I want to set the record straight now."
In the affidavit, Pentecost says she originally voted not guilty on both count 2 and count 13 of the indictment because she did not believe the state proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
But other members of the jury did not agree with her. When she would not change her vote, she said in her affidavit the foreman yelled at her, saying "I am not going to have a mistrial."
Every time Pentecost asked the foreman to speak with the bailiff or judge to say they could not reach a consensus, the foreman ignored her and yelled, "What is wrong with you?" she says in her affidavit.
She then claims the other jurors bullied her and started raising their voices as well. Due to a health condition, she was scared she was going to have a stroke.
So, she ended up changing her vote just to get out of the deliberation room.
She said it was her choice to come forward and make the court aware of "a serious error" that had occurred. She said no one threatened, harassed, or pushed her to come forward. She came forward because she could not get the decision off her conscience.
WAAY31 reached out to another member of the jury who convicted Blakely, and they remember the jury deliberations differently.
That juror claims Pentecost's affidavit is full of lies. They say the deliberation room was definitely intense at times, but no one was ever screaming or yelling profanities like Pentecost claims.
They added that from the beginning, Pentecost said she was giving Blakely the benefit of the doubt and didn't want to be the reason he lost his job.
The other jurors said that wasn't how jury deliberations work, she needed to look at the facts and evidence presented during the trial.
They also claim Pentecost was on her phone most of the time playing solitaire and answering phone calls. The jurors had to ask Pentecost to put her phone away so they could focus on the trial as a group.
The affidavit was taken under oath, so Pentecost was asked to tell the full truth. But with differing sides of the story, it's hard to know what exactly happened behind those closed doors.
At this time, neither the defense or Attorney General's office have a comment on the matter.