Davidson jurors share their side of the story about "praise" service

11:16 PM, Dec 29, 2012   |    comments
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Chris Baber's statement on allegations of a prayer service during Lemaricus Davidson trial.  Lara Krueger's statement on allegations of a prayer service during Lemaricus Davidson trial. 

For the two weeks of Lemaricus Davidson's trial, jurors Lara Krueger and Chris Baber absorbed every detail of the brutal murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.

"It's difficult to understand what we've gone through unless you've been there," said Krueger, a juror on the Lemaricus Davidson trial in 2009.

The images are something they carry with them to this day. As jurors, they made the decision to sentence Davidson to death.

"This affected us," said Baber, also on Davidson's jury, "Lifelong."

Three years later, they're learning a new set of jurors may have to relive the rape and torture of Christian and Newsom.

"It's frustrating to know that for no real reason they may have to go through it all over again," said Krueger.

In a motion filed this week, Davidson's attorney claims for the majority of the time they deliberated for Davidson's punishment, the jury held a praise service, consulted Bible verses, and sang hymns. The motions states that violates Davidson's right to a fair trail.

It also says they voted on the death penalty before being charged to do so by the judge.

Krueger and Baber are taking those accusations personally.

"It was not true that we held a worship service or a praise service of any kind during deliberations. We didn't do anything during deliberations except follow the instructions we were given by the court," Krueger said. "We never had an early vote. We couldn't even discuss it before we were in the deliberation room."

The motion includes copies of worship songs that a bailiff signed off on. Baber said they did in fact use those songs, but it was days before the deliberation.

"It was after, I believe, the first night we saw pictures. Everybody was pretty tore up. On the van ride back, that's when I decided to ask if we were allowed to do this," Baber said.

Baber got approval from the bailiff who made copies of the songs for them.

"I was a praise and worship leader at my church. I had some songs with me and my guitar to pass the time in the evenings," he said.

Then, after dinner one night, he says he invited others to join him in worship. Both jurors say it was not at the courthouse, as the motion insinuates, but at the hotel.

"It was voluntary. Not everybody had to come. Not everybody did come," said Baber, "We had seen some horrific stuff, heard some horrific stuff, it was a comfort to have that. It was for us personally. It wasn't for any decision making, or trying to sway anybody in anyway," he said.

With an evidential hearing on the motion coming up on January 10th, they felt they needed to offer their side of the story.

"I just don't want any decisions to be made based on something that is not true," said Krueger.

The motion centers around a blog post from an alleged juror. The motion does not mention who wrote the post. Baber and Krueger said they have no knowledge of the blog.

 

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