At an unusual murder trial in Camden County in which a former mechanic is accused of killing a man with a bow and arrow, three jurors were overheard discussing a puzzling piece of evidence. A bloody arrow was found in Timothy Canfield's pickup truck, but it did not contain the victim's DNA.
The jurors' conversation, which took place despite a judge's admonitions not to discuss the evidence before the case concluded, led to a mistrial when State Superior Court Judge Richard Wells ended the proceedings, citing "juror misconduct."
On Tuesday, prosecutors vowed to retry Canfield, 30, of Berlin Borough. He remains free after posting $400,000 bail.
"The court found that juror conduct has poisoned the deliberative process, and the jury will not be able to continue fair deliberations," said Alex McVeigh, a spokeswoman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. She said no date had been set for the retrial.
Canfield's attorney, Jeffrey Zucker, said Canfield was being cross-examined when a juror handed a note to the judge saying she had overheard other jurors discussing the case in the jury room during a lunch break. Canfield had testified that he shot the arrow in an attempt to scare away Kereti Paulsen, who had started a fistfight with someone in the backyard of the home Canfield shared with his girlfriend and her family.
Paulsen, 25, of Cape May Courthouse, died of a single arrow wound to the stomach. Zucker said the arrow that killed him was never recovered.
Camden County Assistant Prosecutor Lauren Pratter said that after Canfield killed Paulsen, he hid some of his arrows in an attic and concealed his bow in woods in Winslow Township, a neighboring town.
Zucker said this was the first time in his 40 years of practicing law that he had a trial ended because of juror misconduct. The three jurors "were discussing one of the arrows that was found in his truck, but the blood wasn't a match with the victim," Zucker said. Canfield, he said, "told me it could have been months before that he could have shot a squirrel with it."
Before Canfield's testimony, the judge dismissed the case against Canfield's wife, Ashley Dulin, who was charged with witness tampering and was standing trial with Canfield.