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NCJ Number
ABA Journal Volume: 82 (July 1996) Issue: Dated: Pages: 54-58
M Curriden
Date Published
5 pages
The jury deliberations are described for a 1995 murder case in which one juror became a holdout for an extended period due to the interpretation of the term "knowingly killed."
The case involved 21-year-old Jennifer Lynn Collins, who was accused of killing her newborn baby in her dormitory bathroom while a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The defense attorneys argued that their client was under such emotional distress that she panicked and that the death was a case of negligent homicide at best. The jury included nine women and three men. The trial was brief. The defense presented no witnesses. The judge told the jury that it had four choices: guilty of reckless homicide, guilty of negligent homicide, guilty of second-degree murder, and not guilty. The deliberations were difficult for the jurors. They quickly agreed that Collins was guilty of the two lesser charges, but some had doubts about the felony charge of second-degree murder. The first vote on that charge was 7 to 5. After some discussion a second vote was 9 to 3. Further discussion focused on the lack of testimony from the defendant and the absence of her family and friends in the courtroom. Two more votes were 11 to 1. Lengthy and emotional further discussions about the defendant's attitudes and whether her actions were taken knowingly ultimately led the holdout juror to change her vote. Collins received a 15-year sentence. Photographs and separate article on the characteristics of holdout jurors