FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The foreperson of the jury in the murder trial of Dayonte Resiles said three jurors were unwilling to convict Resiles based on his race.
The foreperson discussed on Friday the most recent twist in the trial that ended Wednesday with the hung jury.
“[The three jurors] said, ‘I don’t want to send a young Black male to jail for the rest of their life or have him get the death sentence,'” said the foreperson.
Resiles faces life in prison and possibly the death penalty for the murder of Jill Su, a 59-year-old Davie woman who was killed in her home back in September of 2014.
Police said Resiles broke into the home to commit a burglary, and when he found Su inside, he tied her up and stabbed her to death. His DNA was found on a knife and inside the home.
Two years after his arrest, Resiles escaped from a Broward County courtroom. He was found six days later.
Just before Thanksgiving, the suspect finally stood trial. After six days of deliberations, the jury came back with manslaughter, but when it came time for the foreperson to confirm the verdict to the judge, she couldn’t do it.
“The whole time I’m staring at the judge and at the clerk, and we’re locking eyes, and I’m looking at each one of them,” said the juror. “They’re just waiting for my verdict of either ‘yes, I agree’ or ‘no,’ and I just couldn’t, and that’s why I said no.”
She said most of the jury was ready to convict Resiles of at least second-degree murder, but the three refused because the defendant is Black.
After they compromised on manslaughter, she said, her courtroom change of heart led to threats from other jurors.
“You guys keep saying ‘a young Black man,’ but I don’t see race. I just see a human being, and you know, one particular person said to me, ‘Hey, if you were outside this courtroom, you would have gotten smacked out in the street for this,'” said the juror.
Resiles will be tried again in January with a new jury. It will feature the same evidence, but with 12 new people to hear the case.
The former foreperson hopes they can do their job.
“The society that we’re in right now, it needs to change, and just not look at color of skin. I feel like we need to look at each other as human beings, as who we are,” she said.
Resiles’ next trial is set to start on Jan. 3.