Juror misconduct leads to mistrial in 2021 murder case in Doña Ana County
A Doña Ana County judge declared a mistrial this week after finding that a juror in a 2021 murder case broke the rules regarding outside information during the trial.Jimmy Levi Rogers, 31, remains charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence after the mistrial was declared on Thursday, Aug.
10.Police say they believe Rogers conspired with a friend and killed Ezekiel Diaz, 40, on Aug.
16, 2021.According to an affidavit, Las Cruces police alleged Rogers bought a gun, drove up to Diaz, who was in his vehicle waiting at a red light on Lohman Avenue and Walnut Street, and fatally shot Diaz.
Law enforcement officers arrested Rogers days later in California.A memorial for Ezekiel “Zeke” Diaz is pictured on Thursday, Aug.
26, 2021, at the intersection of Lohman Avenue and Walnut Street after Diaz was shot and killed on that day.The trial promised to be a dramatic one.
In addition to testimony regarding police efforts to use Roger’s cell phone data to triangulate his location during the shooting, Roger’s alleged co-conspirator was also set to testify.Hector Calderon, 30, pled guilty to charges relating to his involvement in the incident.
While initially facing the same charges as Rogers, Calderon accepted a guilty plea deal to a conspiracy charge and tampering with evidence in exchange for dismissal on the murder charge.
Calderon was also scheduled to testify against Rogers.But after four days of trial, Judge Richard Jacquez ordered a mistrial.
Two sources confirmed to the Sun-News that a juror researched the penalty for first-degree murder on their own time.
That juror then included that information in a notebook they used during the trial.Jurors are only allowed to consider the information presented at trial.
Anything from a news article or information on the internet is not permitted.
However, judges will often enable the trial to continue if the juror promises that they will not use the information in their deliberations.
In this case, however, Jaquez decided to declare a mistrial.The mistrial does not mean Rogers’ case is thrown out.
Instead, the trial will be reset with a new jury in the coming months.Justin Garcia covers public safety and local government in Las Cruces.
He can be reached via email at [email protected], via phone or text at 575-541-5449, or on Twitter @Just516Garc.This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Juror misconduct leads to mistrial in murder case in Doña Ana County View comments