13th Juror Prompts Mistrial

HOUSTON (AP) _ A 13th juror in a man’s murder trial resulted in a mistrial.

State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis declared the mistrial on Tuesday after realizing an extra juror was allowed to deliberate in Charles Mapps’ murder trial.

The jury had found Mapps guilty in the shooting death of his girlfriend.

Criminal juries must have only 12 members. The judge blamed a substitute bailiff.

Juror Paula Harlan says the extra juror tried to leave, but the bailiff said she needed to complete paperwork that was never brought to her.

Ellis said the 13th juror would be considered outside influence even though she sat through all of the testimony.

He told the Houston Chronicle that in 23 years he’d never seen anything like this. He said the jurors all seemed pretty upset, but there’s no way to, “unring that bell.”