Friday, January 18, 2008

More Accusations Levied Against McCowen Juror

More charges of racism have been levied against Christopher McCowen juror Eric Gomes - the Cape Verdean man who loves white people - this time by his own great-aunt. Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly is reporting that 74 year-old Julia Miranda has signed a sworn affidavit alleging that her great-nephew has been a racist since he was 15 or 16 years old.

The manner in which this has been brought before the court is an odd one. Apparently Miranda and another woman approached Peter Manso, a critically acclaimed and Pulitzer prize nominated author who has written biographies of Marlon Brando and Norman Mailer, is set to publish a book on the McCowen case and is also a Cape Cod journalist, at the court where the hearings regarding McCowen's jurors were held. According to Manso, Miranda made many statements about Gomes, noting that he has had some choice quips in the past which include, "These niggers come down here and they think they can do what they want. They are making us look bad," and "All niggers do is rob people, kill people and deal drugs."

If true, these statements will be damning to both prosecutor O'Keefe who would undoubtedly have to retry McCowen if he wanted to keep him behind bars and to Gomes himself. Besides looking like a complete jerk, Gomes would be guilty of perjury as he testified in court under oath denying that he made any racially biased comments. If guilty, he could face up to twenty years in prison (maybe his cellmate could be McCowen while he waits for his second trial).

Of course, perjury is a two-way street and if Miranda is lying in her sworn affidavit she faces the same penalty. Additionally, many people will point to Manso as grandstanding and merely drumming up publicity for his book. This could be true, but I do not buy it. The Worthington story is interesting enough without the jury bias issues. Plus, three separate people have said these things against Gomes and now his great-aunt is saying it about him. Remember, Manso did not seek this woman out, she sought him out to tell him her story about Gomes (at least according to Manso). In addition to all of this, Manso's unlicensed firearms have nothing to do with this (plus, he has yet to be arraigned and no charges have been filed, so the DA obviously doesn't think it's that big of a deal).

This whole case is a mess and Judge Nickerson would need to heavily explain himself if he were to allow McCowen's conviction to stand. Three jurors came forward with these allegations and that was enough to call back all of the jury to question them about what happened in deliberations. These new allegations should be enough for Judge Nickerson to call Gomes back, to call Miranda to clarify her statements and for prosecutor Michael O'Keefe to look into perjury charges against Gomes. I'll end this post with a Technique quote: "Cause the conflict is building within / The ultimate sin / Is to be ashamed of your skin..." Peace.

Information for this post was taken largely from David E. Frank's article in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly linked to in the first sentence of the post

Photos - Christopher McCowen during his trial (Cape Cod Online), Christa Worthington's cottage, where the murder occurred (Tru TV), Judge Gary Nickerson, who presided over McCowen's trial and the hearings involving racial bias in the jury (WBZ)

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