A grand juror in Halifax County got a sneak peek at the prosecution’s evidence in his criminal case – and there’s a chance, albeit a slim one, that the presentation was so convincing he decided to go ahead and indict himself.
While serving on the grand jury, Raylon Parker sat in on the proceedings in his own indictment and then participated in the vote, which resulted in a true bill finding sufficient evidence that he could have committed a crime, according to Superior Court Judge Alma Hinton.
“I asked him if he stepped aside when the matter was voted on and he did not,” she said. “I don’t know that this has ever happened before.”
Because grand jury proceedings are secret, Hinton could not say how the 28-year-old voted, only that he did. Halifax’s clerk of court reported that Parker was indicted on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
The highly unusual situation came to light when the clerk examined the indictments and noticed that the defendant in one of the cases had the same name as a grand juror. Hinton said she was preparing to call Parker into the courtroom when he asked to approach the bench.
She immediately removed him from the grand jury.
Asked if Parker’s participation in the vote in his case would affect his indictment, Hinton said: “I thought about that and I don’t think it does. I don’t think this causes [the bill] to be defective.”
But she added that the county’s district attorney was investigating the issue.
Halifax’s chief assistant DA, Keith Warner, believed that if it were revealed that Parker voted in favor of his indictment that fact could be used against him at trial.
“If he indicted himself, that’s a statement against him,” he said.
But Hinton disagreed, saying she would not allow testimony about a grand jury proceeding.
“If that motion was made before me I would deny it,” she said.
Meanwhile, Warner said he has seen grand jurors removed because they were indicted – many often have no idea that they are going to be indicted before it happens. But he echoed Hinton in saying that Parker’s case was bizarre.
“Welcome to Halifax County,” he added.
Follow Phillip Bantz on Twitter @NCLWBantz