Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

State will re-try Heidi Quinn in buried guns case following mistrial

TAMPA — The state has decided to re-try Heidi Quinn, the Valrico mother whose evidence tampering trial last week ended with a hung jury.

Assistant State Attorney Nicki Mohr announced in court Thursday morning that a new trial would be held for Quinn, who is accused of hiding guns after her teenage son fatally shot a Brandon High School basketball player in a botched drug deal.

The new trial date is Dec. 4.

Quinn, 52, was arrested in April, four months after her son, Cody, shot 17-year-old Jayquon Johnson in their garage. After hearing the shot, Quinn went into the garage and found Johnson lying on the floor beside a handgun, her son standing over him with his own firearm, according to court testimony.

Quinn picked up both guns and buried them in dirt inside a trash can before sheriff's deputies were called, according to court testimony.

Prosecutors did not charge Cody Quinn with homicide because they said they could not refute his claim of self-defense. He was charged, though, with being a minor in possession of a firearm and several drug-related offenses.

At Heidi Quinn's trial, a detective and crime scene investigator explained that the way the guns were handled rendered them almost useless as evidence.

The state argued that she hid the guns in an effort to stop her son from getting in trouble. But defense attorneys contended that her intent was to protect her son from the danger of the unsecured weapons.

A jury of two men and four women deliberated for less than three hours before telling Circuit Judge Nick Nazaretian they were unable to reach a verdict.

The jury forewoman later told the Tampa Bay Times their indecision may have been influenced by the notion of a parent protecting a child. But she declined to detail the jury's discussion. Several of the jurors were parents, according to their questionnaires.

Johnson's mother and father, who attended Quinn's trial, were also back in court Thursday to hear the state's announcement. Both wore T-shirts bearing their son's image.

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