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Juror misconduct could get death row inmate new trial

AURORA, Colo. -- An arrest warrant is out for a juror who served on the trial of Sir Mario Owens more than a decade ago.

New allegations of juror misconduct could overturn a death sentence and give the twice-convicted murderer a new trial.

This month, the juror failed to turn up at court for questioning. It has been 12 years since Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe, were ambushed and killed at an intersection in Aurora.

For seven of those years, Marshall-Field’s mom, Rhonda Fields, sat in courtrooms, through witness accounts, evidence hearings and testimony about the day her son was killed.

“It is traumatizing, it is agonizing, it is difficult to hear how someone calculated and ambushed someone that you love because they were trying to get away with murder,” she said.

Now Fields might have to go through it all again.

“It just shakes my soul,” she said.

Owens wants a new trial. His defense attorneys filed a motion in Arapahoe County Court accusing juror 75, Stephanie Griggs, of lying on her questionnaire by not revealing a friendship with a relative of one of the victims, knowing members of Owens’ family, of talking to a witness and knowing other witnesses who took the stand.

Griggs sat on the jury for Owens’ first murder trial where he was convicted of killing Gregory Vann in an Aurora park.

That conviction was used to win a death sentence against him in the 2005 slaying of Marshall-Fields, who was a witnesses to the first killing and of Wolfe, who was Marshall-Fields’ fiancee.

If the allegations are true, a judge could throw out both convictions and the death sentence.

“If they redo the trial, then they are going to find the same, come to the same conclusion and the same results and that is guilty,” Fields said.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors declined to comment. It could take a judge months to make a decision in the filings.