March 20, 2017

By the time jurors in the Seth Adams case were sent home last week without reaching a unanimous verdict, all but one agreed Palm Beach County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Custer had no reason to fatally shoot the 24-year-old outside a Loxahatchee Groves nursery, an attorney for Adams’ family said Monday.

Attorney Wallace McCall, who represents Lydia and Richard Adams, said two jurors he talked to and another juror who reached out to his law partner agreed the jury voted 8-1 that Custer used excessive force in the May 2012 shooting death.Seth Adams

Without revealing the names of the jurors he talked to or the name of the apparent hold-out, he said the three jurors agreed it was incorrectly reported to U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley that it had been a 7-2 decision. The three jurors agreed that the vote on a separate question – whether Custer had intentionally destroyed his cell phone to prevent the revelation of damaging text messages – had been 8-1 as reported to Hurley.PBSO Sgt. Michael Custer

McCall said it is unclear how the error occurred. But, he said, jurors recalled that in early votes during three days of deliberations there had been two hold-outs. But, he said, by the time Hurley on Wednesday declared a mistrial because the panel had unable to reach a unanimous verdict, the three jurors said eight agreed Custer had used excessive force.

They said the one juror had “personal issues,” but didn’t detail what made the juror steadfastly disagree with the rest of the panel, he said.

“They’re upset. They’re very, very upset,” McCall said of the three jurors who came forward. “They felt they worked incredibly hard. They felt we absolutely proved the case.”

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