Graham Jury Hung on Murder Charge by 11-1 Vote

Geralyn Graham faces life in prison if convicted in murder of foster child

By Ari Odzer and Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Jan 24, 2013  |  Updated 8:49 PM EDT
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The jury said Thursday that it was hung on the first-degree murder charge against Geralyn Graham, but had reached a verdict on four other counts. Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez read two notes from the jurors in court.

The jury said Thursday that it was hung on the first-degree murder charge against Geralyn Graham, but had reached a verdict on four other counts. Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez read two notes from the jurors in court.

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Judge in Geralyn Graham Case Reads Question from Jurors

Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez read a question from jurors in court Thursday afternoon. "If the jury cannot agree on one of the counts but agrees on the other four, are the other four counts vacated?" she said.

Judge Denies Acquittal in Geralyn Graham Trial

Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez ruled Wednesday there was sufficient evidence for a jury to decide the fate of 66-year-old Geralyn Graham. As the defense began arguing its case, it called detectives Ramesh Nyberg and Chris Stroze to the stand.
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The judge in the Geralyn Graham trial sent jurors home Thursday night after they did not reach a verdict during a long first day of deliberations.

Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez told jurors to return at 9:15 a.m. Friday.

The jury said earlier Thursday that it was hung on Graham's first-degree murder charge by an 11-1 vote.

Jurors said in a note that they have agreed on the other four counts facing Graham, 67, who is accused of killing foster child Rilya Wilson.

Jurors began their deliberations Thursday morning. Graham faces five charges: one count each of first-degree murder and kidnapping, and three counts of aggravated child abuse.

Prosecutors say Graham, 67, smothered the 4-year-old girl in late 2000 and disposed of her body, which has never been found. Wilson's disappearance was not discovered for 15 months, leading to resignations at the Department of Children and Families and passage of reform laws.

Graham has insisted she's innocent. She faces life in prison if convicted.

Earlier in the afternoon, jurors asked a question that indicated that they were close to finishing their  work.

"If the jury cannot agree on one of the counts but agrees on the other four, are the other four counts vacated?" they asked the judge.

She answered no, saying that each count has its own verdict and is to be treated as such.

The two-month trial wrapped up Wednesday with closing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorney Michael Matters.

The state's case rests heavily on jailhouse informants who say Graham confessed to them behind bars.

Matters spent much of his time taking shots at the star witness for the state, jailhouse informant Robin Lunceford. She testified that Graham had confessed in jail to killing Rilya.

Lunceford, as a career criminal, was arrested for armed robbery and was looking at a life sentence for being a habitual offender. Matters said she made things up to make a deal with the state.

But in the state's rebuttal, prosecutor Sally Weintraub went through Lunceford's testimony point by point, aruging that Lunceford told police details that could've only come from Graham.

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