Judge declared mistrial in murder trial
After nine hours of deliberations, trial running into the third week of proceedings, and twenty-one witnesses called, an Onslow County jury could not reach a unanimous verdict and the Honorable Judge R. Kent Harrell declared a mistrial. Defense attorney, Paul Castle submitted a motion to dismiss all charges. State Prosecutor DA Ernie Lee opposed motions to dismiss on grounds of evidence as well as bond reduction. The judge decided to grant a bond reduction to $250,000 (secured) for James Williamson. Williamson, now age 27, has been in the Onslow County Detention Center since charged in July of 2013.
Williamson is the only man of three charged in connection to the Dec. 2012 murder who did not take a plea deal and has gone to trial.
This jury turned every stone several times, requested to review evidence of financial statements, video footage from the T-N-T Bingo hall the night of the crime, phone records of the defendant in this matter as well as known trigger man Larry Forrest. The jury also reviewed the original investigative interview with Williamson again today before deliberating once more.
Judge Harrell asked the foreman of the jury if he believed that further deliberations would change the ratio of 9/3 to a unanimous verdict and he responded, “no, your honor.” Due to no possession of agreement, Judge Harrell called a mistrial.
Forrest pleaded guilty in Nov. 2017 to second degree murder as well as another man charged in connection Juan Lopez, who pleaded guilty in connection to the Dec. 2012 incident.
Sam Flournoy, the victim’s son, was present for the trial proceeding and said, “It’s a sad, sad day for the Flournoy family, but we’re hoping to have justice and closure in our lives.”
Kim Flournoy-DiJoseph, daughter of the victim said, “we grew up here, people know her, she was loved by many, we hope and pray we can find justice.”
Defense Attorney Paul Castle said, “this was a senseless and horrific killing, justice needs to be done, but we cannot just grab somebody and say they are guilty.” “Juan Lopez, he is not a truth teller, and I believe the jury was able to see that…”
NC 4th District Prosecutorial Attorney Ernest (Ernie) Lee ” I respect the deliberations of the jury, this was a very difficult case.” Ernie Lee also said when asked how he feels going forward, “me and my Chief ADA will be going over the case to see what we can do differently…. right now we remain in trial posture.” Chief ADA Mike Maultsby along with DA Ernie Lee who also prosecuted this case made it clear that this is the only case of the three defendants who went to trial.