By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,

On July 26 the trial for Tavon Scott Jr., the ex-squeegee worker on trial for murder, was cut short as a juror called out sick with flu-like symptoms, according to Judge Jennifer Schiffer. 

Scott is being charged with the murder of Timothy Reynolds, 48. Reynolds died of gunshot wounds after confronting a group of squeegee workers with a bat at the Light and Conway St. intersection on July 7, 2022.

“I expect the verdict [tomorrow],” said J. Wyndal Gordon, Scott’s lead defense attorney. “All the jurors came in today on time, except for that one, and from what she reported to the courts, she had a legitimate reason for not showing up – she called the judge’s chambers multiple times.”

“She’s coming back tomorrow if she can, and at that point, deliberations will resume,” said Gordon.

Reporters and families of the victim and the defendant found out that the jury could not deliberate after some confusion this morning when less than 12 jurors arrived for duty. Deliberation could have moved forward with only 11 jurors, but the defense counsel had to agree, according to Thiru Vignarajah, the Reynolds family attorney. Instead of proceeding with the offer to deliberate with only 11 jurors, the defense declined. 

The judge said she is requiring the sick juror to deliver a doctor-signed note tomorrow saying she cannot physically come into court due to her illness if she is not well tomorrow either. Schiffer did not explicitly say what would happen if the juror was officially excused.

“All of the families are concerned about the outcome because this is a tragic case,” said Derede McAlpin, a representative of the Scott family. “We’re just looking forward to the end of the trial and a fair and just trial.”

“We’re hoping that with the fact that this is a high profile case with media coverage, that all of the jurors will follow the court’s instructions and review the evidence they’ve been presented with,” continued McAplin.

Schiffer decided against a mistrial.

“We’ve used many resources, the witnesses have been compliant,” said Schiffer. “I’m willing to try one more day.”

She once again instructed the jury not to view any media about the case, talk about it with friends and family, or go to social media about the case as they left court for the day around 11 a.m.

Schiffer told the jury to return tomorrow, July 27, at 9 a.m. to pursue deliberation.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s possible deliberation, Gordon said he never hoped for a mistrial.

“I know the defense made a motion for a mistrial, but it was well placed because we never really wanted it. I knew that if we motioned for a mistrial, the judge would oppose it, and the motion would not be granted anyway,” said Gordon. “I don’t know what the judge would do one way or another, but I’ve seen trends in the courtroom and believe that if [the prosecution] made the request, maybe it would have ended up in her favor.”

Vignarajah responded to Gordon’s claims, saying they’re just defense tactics.

“Defense tactics are a time-honored tradition where they throw everything against the wall,” said Vignarajah. “Just like the defense saying, ‘he wasn’t there, but if he was there, it was self-defense.’ There’s always tactics involved in their work and they are doing their job.”

Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.