YUMA, Ariz. - The lead defense attorney in the Preston Strong trial, Ray Hanna, has filed a motion for a new trial, saying that one of the jury members knew about a previous murder trial involving Strong.
The motion, filed Friday afternoon, says that one of the jury members knew about Strong's conviction for the 2007 murder of Dr. Satinder Gill, but did not say anything because she wasn't specifically asked about it.
According to documents News 11 obtained, the juror said she saw the story on the news. She also said that she talked about it at work with one co-worker. The juror did say that while she knew of the Gill conviction, she didn't let it influence her. She said she based her decision on the evidence presented.
Jurors were not presented with any of the details of the Gill trial until the sentencing phase, after they have found Strong guilty of murder for the six deaths in the La Mesa trial. The defense also said it asked for a change of venue but that it was denied. They believe that lead to jury misconduct, because post trial interviews showed that at least one of the jurors knew about the Dr. Gill murder. That's why the defense believes they should be granted a new trial.
In the motion obtained by News 11, the defense had several other arguments as to why they're requesting a new trial. One of the arguments revolved around a telephone timeline that was presented to the jury as evidence. According to Officer Gawler with the Yuma Police Department, the testimony and exhibits took at least three weeks to prepare. The jury asked to see this during deliberations. The argument is that it wasn't presented until just before the final witness in the case, even though the defense said that the state had over a decade to prepare it.
A judge is expected to make a ruling on this in the next 30 days.
According to the defense the trial had a price tag of at least $500,000.
Keep it tuned to News 11 as we go in depth with the La Mesa Street Murders, tonight at 6 p.m. on News 11.