Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mistrial declared in Pinellas murder trial of man accused of burning girlfriend

Jeffrey Robert Grant is accused dousing his girlfriend with gas and setting her on fire.

Jeffrey Robert Grant is accused dousing his girlfriend with gas and setting her on fire.

LARGO — A mistrial was declared in a murder case this week after a juror admitted to looking at a news story about the crime.

The move means prosecutors, defense attorneys and a judge will need to try again to conduct a trial for Jeffrey Robert Grant, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Jennifer Guthrie, in 2010.

"It is very frustrating," said Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge Thomas McGrady. "There was a whole lot of time, effort and money spent to try this case, a very serious case."

The scrapped trial shows the increasing difficulty the legal system has as it tries to maintain fair trials for defendants in an age when all manner of information is available at jurors' fingertips.

Jurors are routinely told not to read or watch news articles about court cases until they're over.

This case began Monday before Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Timothy Peters, and jurors began deliberating Thursday. At one point Thursday, one juror told another that he had seen an article on his computer about the case Monday. He also maintained he had not actually read the article.

Peters, after hearing the matter discussed in court, declared a mistrial.

"You've got a juror who didn't say anything until late in the game; this is after four days in the trial," McGrady said. "It's just difficult to understand."

Assistant State Attorney David Tobiassen said his office will be ready to try the case again.

Grant is accused of killing Guthrie by dousing her with gasoline and lighting her on fire.

Contact Curtis Krueger at ckrueger@tampabay.com or (727) 892-8232. Follow @ckruegertimes.

Mistrial declared in Pinellas murder trial of man accused of burning girlfriend 08/22/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 22, 2014 10:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.