Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Walden declared a mistrial in the case of accused rapist Tim Coleman yesterday after a potential juror was seen talking to a witness that they knew.
The motion was filed by Public Defender Melinda Troeger after about 50 to 60 jurors went through the process.
Walden said he was alerted to the issue but didn’t notice the conflict himself. He told the court that the potential juror was brought into his chamber and did admit to talking with the witness. The potential juror disclosed that they did know the witness but did not speak about the case.
Walden said given the unique set up of the Ray County Courthouse, potential jurors are not sequestered and are free to mingle about the courthouse.
Coleman’s new trial date has been set to begin Nov. 9.
The trial was originally scheduled to begin last year but the medical condition of the alleged victim did not allow her to come to court.
Ray County Assistant Prosecutor Brian McMahon was visibley discouraged by Walden’s ruling and said to the defense, “You guys are entirely too happy about a mistrial.”
Afterwards McMahon did not have much to say, other than he was disappointed the victim will have to wait longer to receive any closure from the incident.
Richmond Police were called to a residence on Sept. 13, 2007 after a 911 phone call was received according to the affidavit of Probable Cause.
When police arrived, they found the victim crying and said she had been raped.
The report says that police found Coleman inside the house without any clothing. The report says that Coleman was arrested immediately and taken to Lafayette County Jail.
According to the report, the victim had asked Coleman to look at a vehicle she was thinking about buying and had some drinks at a local bar. Later that night, Coleman allegedly arrived at the victim’s house.
Coleman confirmed the facts the next day, but claimed the act was consensual.