Judge Orders Newspaper to ID Claimed Juror Who Commented Online During Trial Over Attorney's Murder

A Kansas newspaper has been ordered to identify to a local court an anonymous website poster who claimed to be a juror in a high-profile felony murder trial in which an attorney was the victim.

The Topeka Capital-Journal will not contest the Shawnee County District Court order requiring it to reveal the identity of “BePrepared,” who records show accessed a newspaper article while the jury was deliberating the case of Anceo D. Stovall, the Capital-Journal reports.

Stovall was found guilty of the aggravated battery of a co-defendant and acquitted of a Jeep burglary. However, the jury deadlocked on nine other charges, including the shooting death of Topeka attorney Natalie Gibson.

Stovall is expected to be retried on the nine counts, but his lawyer, Jonathan Phelps, is also seeking a new trial on the aggravated battery count over claimed juror misconduct. Phelps argued, and District Judge Steven Ebberts apparently agreed, that the alleged misconduct at issue could constitute a felony crime, and there is no other practical way to obtain the identity of the anonymous poster other than requiring the newspaper to provide it.

A juror suspected of posting as BePrepared took the Fifth when questioned about the issue.

Hat tip: Associated Press.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “9 Charged with Felony Murder and Robbery in Slaying of Kansas Lawyer Shot to Death at Her Home”

ABAJournal.com: “Slain Kansas Lawyer Was Shot to Death Last Year in Robbery at Her Home, Eyewitness Testifies”

ABAJournal.com: “First Felony Murder Trial Under Way in Slaying of Kansas Lawyer”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.