07/01/04 — Sex-case jury deadlocks

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Sex-case jury deadlocks

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 1, 2004 1:58 PM

A 37-year-old defendant, charged with 11 sex offenses against a young girl, left the Wayne County Courthouse on Wednesday a free man.

Donald Robert Deaver of Dobbersville Road was acquitted on one charge, three charges were dismissed, and the jury deadlocked on the other seven.

When the verdict was announced, the victim, now 19, buried her head in her hands while she was seated at the prosecution's table.

The jury of six women and six men had deliberated Deaver's fate for almost three days. Judge Jay R. Hockenbury Jr. of Wilmington recalled the panel to the courtroom at 4 p.m. The foreman said the jury was deadlocked on seven charges and the vote had remained the same since Tuesday.

Hockenbury then met with the foreman, Assistant District Attorney Paige R. Kabler and defense lawyer Geoff Hulse of Goldsboro in his chambers.

After questioning the foreman in court, Hockenbury ruled that further deliberations would not be productive and declared a mistrial on the seven charges.

Deaver was found not guilty of a first-degree sex offense with a child.

Hockenbury had dismissed one count each of a first-degree rape of a child, indecent liberties with a child and a lewd and lascivious act.

The jury deadlocked on two counts each of a first-degree sex offense with a child, indecent liberties with a child and a lewd and lascivious act and one count of a first-degree rape of a child.

Hockenbury told the jurors not to feel that their time had been wasted. He said they "tried very hard," and then he ordered them not to talk about the case because the seven charges are pending.

District Attorney Branny Vickory could not be reached today for comment on whether Deaver would be retried on the seven charges.

The alleged offenses occurred from 1996 to 1998, but Deaver was not charged until 2003. He was held originally on a $175,000 secured bond.