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Juror’s ‘I Am Not Sending a Black Man to Jail’ Comment Forces Mistrial in Case of SUV Driver Who Allegedly Killed Woman on Brooklyn Sidewalk

A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of the driver who allegedly mowed down a couple walking on a Brooklyn sidewalk in 2015, killing the woman. 

Marlon Sewell was being tried for second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the Fort Greene crash that killed 30-year-old Victoria Nicodemus of Brooklyn. He was to face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. 

The trial started last week, and the jury began deliberating Tuesday. But Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Vincent Del Giudice declared a mistrial Thursday when a juror noted a comment another juror made about Sewell, who is black.

The concerned juror, a black woman, wrote in a note to the judge that she heard another a juror, also a black woman, say at the start of the trial, "I am not sending a black man to jail. Are you crazy?" 

When asked about it by the judge, the juror admitted making a comment along those lines but said the other juror misheard her, and that she'd said she wouldn't send a black man to jail "without evidence," and that she thought she was talking to herself. 

Sewell's attorney asked the judge to declare a mistrial, while prosecutors said it would be premature. 

The judge declared the mistrial Thursday morning, and Sewell, who has been out on bail, is due back in court in November. 

The Brooklyn district attorney's office say it intends to retry the case. 

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