Prosecutors want to talk to jurors from Doneghy murder trial

Doneghy Prosecutor says it's not unusual after trial

jhewlett@herald-leader.comJuly 9, 2011 

The Fayette commonwealth's attorney's office wants to talk to the jurors who last month found Glenn Doneghy guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the death of Lexington police officer Bryan Durman.

Assistant Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Lori Boling filed a motion Thursday asking Circuit Judge James Ishmael for permission to have "post-trial contact" with the jurors.

Boling's boss, Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson, said Friday that the motion had nothing to do with a request for a new trial made Tuesday by one of Doneghy's attorneys.

Defense attorney Sally Wasielewski, who filed that motion, says a new trial is warranted because the jurors were allowed to walk freely in downtown Lexington during a June 30 lunch break, after deliberations had begun, which is a violation of the rules of criminal procedure. Wasielewski says the jurors should have been kept in a group and escorted by a court bailiff.

"We always like to talk to jurors after a trial because we're always looking at ways that we can improve our courtroom presentation," Larson said. He said representatives from his office have talked to jurors "lots" in the past.

"Sometimes jurors just call us out of the blue after months," he said. He said he was sure that in other cases his office had filed motions similar to the one Boling filed Thursday.

Doneghy was charged with murder for striking Dur man, 27, with his sport utility vehicle on the night of April 29, 2010. Durman was investigating a noise complaint at the time he was struck, according to police. But the jury found Doneghy, 34, guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter, as well as other charges.

Doneghy's attorneys showed up in Ishmael's courtroom Friday for a hearing on the motion for a new trial only to learn there wouldn't be one.

Prosecutors, who had not filed a response to the motion for a new trial, were not in the courtroom. And Doneghy had not been brought to the courthouse from the Fayette County jail.

The defense attorneys apparently were unaware that Ishmael had issued an order Thursday giving prosecutors until July 18 to file a reply to Wasielewski's motion for a new trial.

Ishmael's order also gives defense attorneys until July 29 to respond to the prosecutors' reply. Ishmael said he would then take the motion under advisement.

Doneghy defense attorney Gayle Slaughter said that when a judge takes a legal issue under advisement, it usually means there will be no oral arguments about the issue in open court.

"It avoids a public hearing," she said.

Ishmael scheduled a July 15 hearing on the prosecution's motion for permission to contact jurors.

Doneghy is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 19. The jury recommended he serve 30 years in prison.

Reach Jennifer Hewlett at (859) 231-3308 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3308.

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