Juror's action causes mistrial

By David Hedges Publisher


The six-day trial of a Spencer man charged with shooting his neighbor ended in a mistrial Friday in Mason County.

Dreu Ferguson Jr., 28, is expected to be tried again, although a new trial date has not been set.

Ferguson is charged in the death of William Freas III, who was shot just before noon on June 11, 2003, while sitting on his front porch on Beauty St. in downtown Spencer.

Judge David Nibert declared the mistrial after learning a juror had brought a law dictionary into the jury room.

After beginning deliberations Thursday evening, jurors had requested a dictionary to examine the meaning of "malice." Nibert denied the request and advised jurors to look at the instructions they had been given.

Apparently that wasn't enough for one juror who allegedly brought the law dictionary when the jurors returned the following day.

The jury foreman reported the incident to Nibert who declared the mistrial that morning.

The incident was the latest twist in a case that was delayed for almost a week after Nibert fainted on the bench ...

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