A witness blurted out some forbidden words in the recent child-rape trial of Jeremy Monroe King, but a judge Friday ruled that it was not enough to grant the Everett man a new trial.
King, 22, recently was convicted of first-degree child rape and first-degree child molestation for an attack on a 9-year-old boy at Lynnwood’s Lynndale Skate Park in May 2003.
During his trial, a state Child Protective Service worker told the jury that King was a known registered sex offender, information that Snohomish County superior Court Judge James Allendoerfer ruled should not be heard by the jury.
Garth McCardle, a public defender, argued that the CPS worker’s statement was “so powerful and prejudicial” that the court could not correct the error by giving an admonition to the jurors, who found King guilty.
King was supposed to be tried on the facts at hand, not on his criminal history, the judge said. A defendant’s past record normally can’t be aired in trials.
King was convicted as a juvenile of child rape. He was twice convicted of failure to register as a sex offender as an adult.
Deputy prosecutor Kathy Jo Kristof said Allendoerfer’s ruling allows her to ask the judge to put King behind bars for more than 26 years when he’s sentenced Oct. 4.
“A new trial is the only remedy in this case,” McCardle argued.
In an extraordinary measure, the court sent questionnaires to the 12 jurors after the trial asking questions about how the inadvertent statement influenced their verdict. In general, the jurors said they followed Allendoerfer’s instruction during the trial to disregard the offending comment.
Still, McCardle noted that one juror observed that others appeared to look at the case in “an entirely different manner” after hearing the comment.
Allendoerfer noted that McCardle himself had brought out a similar comment about King’s past in his examination of another witness. Kristof also noted that one juror thought King’s past could have made law enforcement jump to conclusions and falsely accuse King, something that could help him in deliberations.
In the end, Allendoerfer said the jurors reported they followed his instructions and didn’t consider the comment in convicting King.