After guilty verdict, defense claims jury was sleep-deprived

After guilty verdict, defense claims jury was sleep-deprived

Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizarro says he has no problem with a jury deliberating into the wee hours of the morning to convict a 20-year-old man of second-degree murder, but the attorney for the defendant says the late deliberations may have changed his client's fate.

"Was it unreasonable for them to start Tuesday and end on Monday?" Lon Burns said. "My judgment was clouded being here at 3 a.m. in the morning."

The sun wasn't up when the jury convicted Kendall Harrison in the death of Harry Mike Ainsworth.

"We believe had the jury had reasonable opportunity to be rested, the case would have resulted in an acquittal," Burns said. "Because they were here, it was a compromised verdict."

Al Schmitt was Ainsworth's neighbor.

"In all likelihood, he got what he deserved," Schmitt said of Harrison. "He killed somebody and he robbed two kids of their father and scared the heck out of the girl who was living down here."

On Jan. 25, 2012, Ainsworth was walking his 9- and 10-year-old sons to the bus stop when he saw a woman being carjacked. The suspect shot Ainsworth when the Good Samaritan jumped in to help.

Ainsworth died in Schmitt's front yard.

Burns says his client still maintains his innocence.

"He contends he was not there. The only thing that put him there was a small piece of DNA evidence," Burns said.

He says the jury was pushed into working through the night and may have seen the case differently in the light of day.

"Jurors are not empowered to realize they can raise their hand and they can say tell the judge this is emotionally taxing to me to be away from my family," Burns said.

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