Bobby Lee Pearson should be safe in prison, convicted on a burglary charge. But somehow, a Fresno, California jury read a form wrong and declared the career criminal not guilty of burglary charges on Wednesday.
Little over an hour after he was released from prison Wednesday night, Pearson, 37, was killed.
The first part of the story happened in Fresno County Superior Court. According to the Fresno Bee, the jury had mistakenly checked off “not guilty” on a form, but after they announced the verdict, they revealed that they were hung. Had the jury correctly told Judge W. Kent Hamlin that they could not come to an agreement on the verdict before, he could have declared a mistrial and had Person retried.
“I can’t change it because double jeopardy has already attached,” a shocked Hamlin told the jury. “This has never happened to me in more than 100 jury trials that I have done.”
Hamlin had no choice but to thank the jury for their service and let them go, although eight of the 12 jurors did believe Pearson was guilty.
Now, that would have been a bizarre story in itself, but that’s only part one. According to ABC 30, Pearson was found lying in the middle of a road in Fresno an hour after he was released from prison. He was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center, where he later died.
The suspect is Willie Gray, who was later caught by police. Police seized a gun where he was arrested and he also needed to be treated for injuries. Authorities are still investigating the incident.