John Mahoney shot and killed his father. He was subsequently indicted for first-degree murder, weapons offenses and hindering apprehension, and the case proceeded to trial. His defense was battered child syndrome – his actions toward his father were motivated by the latter’s physical and emotional abuse. The jury convicted him of, among other things, first-degree aggravated manslaughter.
During deliberations, the jury sent the judge an unsolicited note saying, in part, that Mahoney should have significant therapy. Shortly after the verdict, a juror wrote to Mahoney saying that he should have a second chance in life. Mahoney responded, and the juror wrote him another letter saying that she struggled emotionally about the facts of the case. This juror then wrote a letter to the judge that revealed the mental impressions of the jury, and stated further that this was a complicated and emotionally difficult case. The juror asked the judge to place Mahoney on probation and require him to undergo extensive mental health therapy.
A second juror also wrote to Mahoney, the judge and defense counsel. This letter also revealed the jury’s mental impressions, as well as that juror’s own issues with the case. This juror apparently spoke to the other juror that wrote to Mahoney, and stated that s/he planned to contact defense counsel and write to the judge. Significantly, the second juror stated that the jury was conflicted in convicting Mahoney of aggravated manslaughter. Like the first juror, this juror believed that Mahoney needed treatment as opposed to punishment. S/he also wrote to defense counsel on behalf of several jurors. This letter revealed the jury’s deliberative mental impressions, and indicated that the jury wanted Mahoney to receive treatment rather than punishment. Continue reading ›