RUTHERFORDTON — District Attorney 29A Office’s losing cases streak continued in court this week. The jury found Majette NOT GUILTY in an assault on a Detention Center employee. At the center of the argument was whether or not there was an encounter between the incarcerated man and the detention center employee that caused physical injury.
Detention center employee Wanda Weaver had testified that when she opened the door to the room, that the defendant took a football stance, charged her, wrapped his arms around her legs, picked her up and slammed her to the sidewalk where she lost consciousness.
(The two other detention officers, Sgt. Vance and Lt. Taylor, who were present at the incident did not support Weaver’s account of the incident.)
Weaver went to the hospital where she was released to go home. She then spent 10 months out of work. However, prosecutor Ken Sauve did not present any medical records, evidence of any injuries or any medical progress reports.
On the day of closing arguments there was a significant delay when one juror did not report for duty. An alternate was called to replace the missing juror.
During closing arguments defense attorney Krinn Evans again questioned the lack of medical records. He also asked why there was a delay in charging his client. The incident occurred in 2015 and was not charged until 2017. He asked the jurors to consider:
- was the defendant’s case delayed to punish him?
- was the prosecution wondering if this was a viable case to try?
- why wasn’t the defendant charged with running away from Sgt. Vance? The statute of limitations was about to expire.
- why wasn’t Majette charged with possessing contraband in the detention facility?
Mr. Sauve’s closing argument was to simply point to the issues that Mr. Evan’s had written on the chalkboard for the jurors consideration without any original rebuttal.
District Attorney Ted Bell did not make an appearance in the courtroom. No staff were present during the closing arguments.
Date of outcome: 6/5/2018
Quote from Mr. Evans: “My client was charged with an assault on a detention facility employee which is a Class I felony, and with being a habitual felon. The additional habitual felon indictment would have elevated this charge to a Class E felony.Following a two day trial involving testimony from not only the victim but four other correction officers involved in the incident, the jury deliberated for approximately forty minutes and returned a verdict of not guilty.The charges in this incident stemmed from an alleged assault during a foot chase of the defendant on August 9, 2015, in which the allegations were that Mr. Majette tackled Wanda Weaver, a detention guard on duty at the time.Though testimony from other officers, it became apparent that the defendant did not tackle her, but instead may have inadvertently made contact with her during the foot chase.The charges for this matter were not presented to the grand jury for indictment until June 7, 2017; which was nearing the end of Mr. Majette’s original incarceration. This inadvertent contact with Ms. Weaver during the time of the incident does not satisfy the requirements of an intentional assault under North Carolina law; and the jury agreed.”