Potential juror arrested as misconduct halts trial involving Prattville barbershop murders

Updated: Mar. 10, 2020 at 7:30 PM CDT
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AUTAUGA COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Juror misconduct halted the trial against Keon Cain, accused of killing three people at a Prattville barbershop in 2017.

Attorneys learned of the allegations of juror misconduct during the second day of jury selection with nearly 200 potential jurors still left in the pool. During individual voir dire potential jurors reported to attorneys that another potential juror was discussing the case, which is forbidden.

Circuit Judge Bill Lewis instructed the jury to return to the Autauga County Courthouse at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. That’s when he revealed that he would have to quash the jury due to juror misconduct.

“They notified the court that at least two separate interactions happened after I read the charge,” Circuit Judge Bill Lewis told the jury pool. “In one case the information communicated would compromise this case.”

Lewis called the potential juror Kyle Dean to the front of the courtroom and charged him with contempt of court and sentenced him to five days in the jail.

“You left me with no choice,” Lewis stated.

Lewis explained the vast resources expended to bring this case to trial, also citing the need for closure for the victims’ families and the defendant.

“People need closure,” said Lewis. “We can’t get that today.”

This comes as the defense had already cited concerns over being able to strike an unbiased jury in Autauga County for this case. Their first motion for change of venue was denied in late 2019. Due to the high-profile nature of this case around 500 jury summons were sent out. Cain is charged with capital murder for the deaths of Al Benson, Eddie Scott, and Anthony Smith during an alleged armed robbery.

Cain’s co-defendant, Marty Morgan, pleaded guilty in this case and was scheduled to testify against him as a state witness this week. The state is seeking the death penalty.

It’s unclear whether this misconduct will support the defense’s arguments to move this case to a new judicial circuit.

“What happens to the case, I can’t tell you that,” Lewis said. “We will try it another day.”

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