Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Million Dollar Murder

Inside the Jury Room

The jury began deliberations on Thursday evening, March 3. They took a quick vote and learned they were split roughly in thirds: three favored conviction, four were undecided and five favored acquittal.

After a night at a Miami hotel, the jury on Friday morning asked Judge Schulz to rehear testimony about fingerprints and from neighbors of Jacques Mossler. A new vote taken on Friday afternoon found that all four of the undecideds now favored acquittal. The jurors slept on it that night, and a third vote Saturday morning showed the same result: 9-3 for acquittal.

The jury foreman, Fred Harris, sent a note to Judge Schulz announcing a deadlock due to a wide breach in opinions. Schulz ordered more deliberations, and the jury complied.

They returned to the hotel early that evening then resumed discussion at 9:05 a.m. Sunday. Ninety minutes later, after 16 hours and 33 minutes of deliberation, the foreman announced a verdict was in hand.

Prosecutors, the defense teams and the press corps assembled for the reading of the verdict. Powers strode in at 11:58 a.m. and sat stoically, his favored pose throughout the trial. Candy Mossler, who had claimed to suffer failing health as the trial wore on, was assisted to her seat six minutes later.

At 12:10 p.m., the bailiff passed two slips of paper to Judge Schulz. He read each without reaction, then passed them to court clerk Robert Dorr, who opened the first, regarding Mel Powers, and said, Not guilty. He opened the second, regarding Candy, and announced the same verdict.

Candace Mossler waves, after court
Candace Mossler waves, after court

Judge Schulz summoned Mel and Candy to stand before him. He declared them free and ordered their $50,000 bonds released. Schulz dismissed the jury without offering the customary gratitude. As the jurors filed out, Candy rushed over and kissed them, one by one.

Prosecutor Gerstein told reporters, This is the American system of justice, and I cannot complain against it.

Dominic Dunne's Power, Priviledge and Justice

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