Mistrial declared in Shaunasty Lowe murder trial

Shaunasty Lowe (Photo Source: Jefferson Co. Jail)
Shaunasty Lowe (Photo Source: Jefferson Co. Jail)

By Melanie Posey

BESSEMER, AL (WBRC) - A mistrial has been declared in the trial of a Hoover man accused of killing four people.

The capital murder trial for Shaunasty Lowe had just begun this week.  Testimony was supposed to continue Thursday morning, but it ended when a mistrial was declared.

Lowe is one of two men accused of killing Derrick and Elizabeth Witherspoon in July 2008.  He is accused of also killing Elizabeth's two children: 13-year-old Jerome McFarland and 11-year-old Justin McFarland.  Police say Lowe then set the family's Grasselli Heights home on fire to cover the evidence.

On Wednesday, jurors watched a taped conversation Lowe had with police after the shootings.  In it he names another man as the shooter.  One of the jurors realized she had gone to high school with that man.  As a result, the judge excuses her from the case.  But then, a second juror came forward and said after discussing the case with a third juror, he too realized he knew the man.

Upon realizing now three people had potentially discussed this case, both the defense and prosecution asked for a mistrial, which was granted.

On Thursday afternoon, the victims' family members expressed frustration with the jurors' actions.  "For anybody who is going to be on the jury, just go ahead and do what you're supposed to do and get justice," said Tanika Shack, Elizabeth Witherspoon's cousin.  "Because think about it, if it was your family on the other side, you wouldn't want anyone saying anything and this case continuing on for three or four months like this, you know."

Lowe's new trial has been set for September 13th.

Steven Williams has also been charged in this case.

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