The 12 jurors in the "39'ers" gang racketeering trial went home Wednesday evening without a verdict after two days of deliberations, and they won't be returning to the New Orleans federal courthouse until Tuesday.
A death in the family of one juror, a New Orleans chef, prompted U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey to postpone further deliberations until next week rather than call in an alternate juror to replace him.
The jury of seven men and five women began deliberating Tuesday morning on the charges in a 47-count indictment. Prosecutors accuse each of the 10 defendants of a role in at least one of 14 killings, all of them committed in 2010 or 2011.
Prosecutors claim each of those killings was aimed at tightening the street grip of the 39'ers, described as an alliance of drug-dealing gangsters from Central City, the Upper 9th Ward and the Florida housing development.
Over four unrepentant days on the witness stand in the federal "39'ers" gang racketeering tr…
The pause comes in the sixth week of a trial with no equal in the modern era of the local federal court in terms of the numbers of defendants and killings involved.
A roster of prolific gunmen, led by star government witness Gregory "Rabbit" Stewart, testified about the guns, shooters and motives they said were behind what prosecutors described as a two-year campaign of bloodshed.
Stewart himself has admitted to a role in 13 murders on behalf of the group, including the assault in December 2010 on New Orleans bounce rapper Renetta "Magnolia Shorty" Lowe and Calliope gang member Jerome "ManMan" Hampton.
On trial are Jasmine Perry, Leroy Price, Ashton Price, Alonzo Peters, McCoy Walker, Terrioues Owney, Evans Lewis, Curtis Neville, Solomon Doyle and Damian Barnes.
Along with at least one murder count apiece, each of them also faces racketeering and firearms conspiracy charges that carry minimum 20-year sentences. Several of the defendants also are named in a drug conspiracy count.
The credibility of five witnesses who collectively have admitted to murdering dozens of peop…
The jurors gave no sign Wednesday of how far they'd gotten in their deliberations. Given the option of deliberating into the night, they declined.
Zainey has not sequestered the jury during its deliberations.