JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – A cop killer asked the Missouri Supreme Court for a new trial, claiming that a juror knew a detective who testified against him. Kevin Johnson, 23, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2007 for the July 2005 shooting of Kirkwood police Sgt. William McEntee, 43. Johnson was sentenced to death.
Johnson’s attorney, Deborah Wafer, argued that a juror knew Det. Don Scognamiglio. After Scognamiglio recognized the juror, he told an attorney, who contacted the defense.
The state’s attorney responded that it is reasonable to believe that the juror did not realize she worked with Scognamiglio’s wife until he testified. The juror later testified that she worked with Scognamiglio’s wife for two years, but had not seen either of them for about two and half years.
Wafer also argued that another potential juror, who is black, was improperly dismissed; that the jury was given improper directions; that the judge should not have allowed McEntee’s mother to read a letter by McEntee’s son; and that police did not ask Johnson whether he wanted to waive his rights during interrogation.