Published: June 23, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - The juror accused of lying on her juror questionnaire in the first murder trial of Neville Potter Jr. has been acquitted on all charges.
Betsy Brathwaite was arrested March 17, 2011, on a warrant charging her with perjury, contempt of court, filing or recording forged instruments and two counts of fraudulent claims upon the government.
Brathwaite served as a juror for Potter's first trial, which began March 8, 2011, and ended five days later in a hung jury. Potter was charged with killing John Diehl and Marvis Chamaro in Mandahl Feb. 8, 2009. He was tried a second time in July 2011 and found guilty.
At the end of the first trial, the V.I. Justice Department was informed that one of the sequestered jurors may have made inaccurate or incomplete disclosures to material inquiries during the questionnaire and/or oral voir dire, according to an affidavit filed in March 2011 by V.I. Justice Department special agent Cedric Swan.
Investigators found that Brathwaite had lied on her juror questionnaire when she answered "No" to the question about whether she had relatives who had been arrested. Brathwaite's son, Atiba Brathwaite, was charged on Jan. 14, 2008, with two federal counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Brathwaite's stepson, Ralph Brathwaite Jr., was arrested on Oct. 20, 2010, on seven local charges, including first-degree aggravated rape, first-degree unlawful sexual contact and child abuse. He later was convicted of those charges in June 2011.
On March 7, 2011, Betsy Brathwaite made another false statement to the court during the oral voir dire examination for the Potter trial when she did not respond when asked if she is related by blood or marriage to anyone who has been detained or arrested, Swan wrote. She committed contempt by not answering Hollar's inquiry, according to Swan's affidavit.
Government witnesses and documents were provided as evidence.
The Office of the Territorial Public Defender issued a press release Friday stating that after a one-day trial on May 25, a jury found Brathwaite not guilty on all five counts.
Brathwaite was represented by Public Defender Julie Smith-Todman. Assistant Attorney General Charles Willoughby Jr. prosecuted the case.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email email@example.com.