Juror's confession forces drive-by shooting mistrial




Posted on October 24, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 5:21 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A judge has declared a mistrial for a man accused of shooting at a group of basketball players in April.

One of the jurors in the case admitted to doing research on the internet about what witness recalled. The juror said the research was not specific to the case. However, defense lawyers asked for a mistrial.  Prosecutors said because the research was not specific to the case, the research should not matter.

The juror may be found in contempt of court for disobeying orders. A hearing is being scheduled.

The shooting happened at a North Spokane park last April. One person was wounded.

Prosecutors said Ricky Leon fired several shots into a crowd playing basketball at Dutch Jake Park. Defense attorneys said it was a senseless act but not one committed by Ricky Leon.

Leon’s attorney, Ronnie Rae, said the judge refused to allow him to disclose that one of the state’s witnesses pointed fingers at another suspect.

Rae said when the witness was shown a picture of Josh Tillery, she identified him as the suspect. The jury never heard about the identification. Tillery was recently in jail for an unrelated murder.

In closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury Leon is a gang member who wanted to make an impression on rival gang members by shooting at a crowd watching and playing basketball. Leon faces multiple charges including assault and drive-by shooting.

Leon was arrested in north Spokane after a short pursuit with police about 10 minutes after the shooting. Police said his car matched witness’ descriptions of the one used in the attack.