By Jessica Clark
First Coast News
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL -- A judge has stopped a push by Justin Barber's defense team to get a new trial.
His attorney filed two motions in the case. One was a motion for a new trial. The other was a motion to interview the jurors that convicted Barber of first-degree murder.
Barber's attorney, Bob Willis, believed jurors heard or heard about a cable television interview involving a former prosecutor, Maureen Christine, during the course of the trial.
State Attorney's Office Prosecutor Chris France argued jurors should did have heard Christine on Court TV because the judge had instructed them to not listen to news reports.
In June, Christine spoke on Court TV about some evidence that did not come up in trial. She talked about things such things as a bullet-proof vest breast plate Barber purchased off eBay. On TV, Christine suggested Barber taped the plate to his body during the course of the crime. However, she did not say the court had previously ruled that evidence irrelevant.
Christine was expected to take the stand Tuesday, but she did not show up to court. Last week, she did not show for the hearing either. The judge ruled she had not been properly served subpoenas.
Tuesday when she was not in court again, Willis said a diligent effort was made to serve her papers.
First Coast News obtained a document from a company hired to serve Christine a subpoena. In it, the hired server says he tried two different days. He says he went to her office several times, walked around the courthouse for 40 minutes, even went to her home at lunch break, saw a car in the driveway, believed someone was home, but no one came to the door. The report says Christine knew she has a subpoena and was avoiding being served.
However, the judge still chose Tuesday to deny both motions.
The jury recommended the death penalty for Barber.
A judge is scheduled to rule on a sentence this week.
First Coast News