Lawyer seeks retrial for brother convicted of killing dad
PENSACOLA, Florida (CNN) -- Saying the trial of his client was "fundamentally flawed," the attorney for one of two teenage boys convicted of fatally beating their father with a baseball bat said he will seek a retrial in the sensational and legally complex case.
Attorney James Stokes represents 13-year-old Alex King, who stood trial along with his brother, Derek, 14. The boys were convicted Friday of second-degree murder.
"The trial that Alex King received was fundamentally flawed, fundamentally unfair, and Alex King should receive a new trial with a new jury," Stokes told CNN's Connie Chung Tonight. "They can prosecute under whatever theory they wish. We are prepared to defend Alex."
Stokes said jurors were "misled by the entire process" because of another trial in the case. Though the boys originally confessed to killing their father and setting fire to the home last November, they later changed their story and implicated Ricky Chavis, 40, a family friend.
The boys claimed Chavis had persuaded them to take the blame. As a result, Chavis was tried for the same crime in a different trial.
Jurors in the King trial said they were "taken aback" when they learned that the verdict in Chavis' trial -- sealed until after a verdict was reached in the boys' trial -- was not guilty.
"I just couldn't believe it," said forewoman Lynn Schwarz, "because even though we weren't involved in that trial, when we re-enacted this murder and tried to work it in every different way we could, there was no other scenario that we could come up with [other than] he had done it."
Juror Mel Harris said he, too, was in disbelief, believing the jurors in Chavis' trial would find him guilty. "They saw the same thing that we did, and came to the conclusion that they did." (More on jurors' reaction)
But the prosecutor in both trials, David Rimmer, said Monday: "There's no basis for a new trial." He said the jurors reached a proper verdict based on the evidence they received.
Rimmer said he believes Derek wielded the bat, Alex was a principal and Chavis encouraged the boys, but said he couldn't argue that position at Chavis' trial. In Derek's confession to police, he said he bashed his father's head in with the bat.
Stokes had harsh words for the prosecution, saying the state could not possibly have prosecuted both cases believing both parties were guilty of the crime.
"The jury had to know, 'Well, they couldn't have both done it, so they're obviously asking us to do something that's not quite clear from the jury instructions,'" Stokes said. "In fact, that's exactly what the prosecution had done and they did it, I believe, to achieve the outcome they did."
Stokes said earlier he hopes all the jurors join in his motion for a new trial. Schwarz said she hasn't decided on whether to join, in part because any new trial would not involve Ricky Chavis, who she said the jury believes swung the bat.
"It should have been one trial, all of us together with all the evidence, not just half for one trial and half for the other," Schwarz said. "Then, I think, we would have got a fair verdict -- not that we made a mistake on our verdict, but that we did what we could with the evidence that we had."
Sentencing for the boys, who were charged with first-degree murder but convicted on the lesser charge, is set for October 17.
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