Ex-cop requests new trial in teen beating case

July 11, 2013 3:00:35 PM PDT
He's the only former Houston police officer to be convicted in the Chad Holley beating that was caught on camera, but attorneys for Drew Ryser say he deserves a new trial. They're accusing the jury foreman of misconduct.

The motion for a new trial was filed Wednesday at the Harris County courthouse. The allegation is jury misconduct, and the allegation came from one of the jurors themselves.

Ryser could have taken a deal, but he opted to go to trial because he felt he acted within the law. The jury decided otherwise.

Police Union President Ray Hunt remembers what he said after the verdict.

"We're disappointed in the verdict, but we respect the work the jury did," Hunt said.

Now he's not so sure. Last week, Ryser's attorney, Lisa Andrews, was contacted by one of the jurors and she was stunned.

"I'm not as concerned about what their specific deliberations were -- that's their purview," Andrews said. "I wanted to make sure the rules were followed."

In a signed affidavit, the juror claims the jury foreman told the panel during their deliberations that the other police officers had already been convicted. That was false.

Andrews explained, "That jurors shouldn't worry about convicting Ryser because he was strong and had already moved on with his life, which he said he heard from a friend."

It was also alleged that he brought in a printed definition of the word mistreatment to help the jury and one undecided juror reach a guilty verdict.

In her affidavit, the juror said that's what made her change her vote to guilty, and for Ryser's lawyer it is the basis for a new trial.

Andrews said, "Clearly each day he was going and doing research and reading and watching things that he shouldn't have been doing."

The foreman sent out a note during deliberations asking for a definition of mistreatment -- a key part of the trial. The judge responded, "Please confine yourself to the court's charge."

Within an hour, the juror says, of hearing the foreman's definition, the verdict was delivered.

Tommy LaFon, the special prosecutor who tried the case, said, "Once I realize what the allegation is, we're going to start looking into it. Short of that, I don't know what's going to happen."

That investigation is underway. We've called the office for that jury foreman, but that call has not been returned.

Ryser is the only officer in the beating case to be convicted. Raad Hassan and Phil Bryan reached plea deals back in April. Neither will serve any jail time. Andrew Blomberg was the first former officer to go on trial. He was acquitted last year.

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