Juror in incest case questioned
A former juror in the case of an Elkins man charged with 50 counts of incest appeared in Randolph County Circuit Court facing a possible contempt of court charge Thursday.
Former juror Andrew K. Moore was ordered to court under a motion to show cause regarding inconsistent information given during the 12-and-a-half hour jury selection process Sept. 10 for the trial of Derek Shifflett, 31.
Potential jurors are sworn under oath during jury selection. They are instructed not to disclose any details of the case to anyone, for any reason.
Moore was selected to the jury, but then brought to the court’s attention that he may be related to Shiflett. After an investigation, it was found that Moore’s half-sister had been prosecuted on prior charges involving drugs, and that Moore’s father is a registered sex offender, dating back to around 1994, Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker said.
Parker also said that since Moore had a conversation with his father to acquire the information about his potential relations to the defendant, it could compromise his confidentiality regarding the case. Because it appeared that Moore had answered the questions incorrectly during the jury deliberation, the court responded with the motion to show cause.
Moore addressed the court, saying that he only asked his father if he was related to a Shifflett, but did not disclose anything about the Shifflett case.
Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong asked Moore if he was aware of his half-sister’s prosecution. Moore said that due to a recent death in the family around the time of the jury selection, he had not been thinking of the case. When Wilfong asked Moore about whether or not he had knowledge of his father’s status as a registered sex offender, Moore said since the incident involving his father had occurred so long ago, he hadn’t deemed it relevant.
Wilfong, after ruling that Moore did not do anything wrong deliberately, said Moore would not be held in contempt of court.
Jury selection was set for Jan. 7.
Also in court Thursday, Shifflett said that since he had now been in jail for over a year, he requested that his bond be modified.
Shifflett, who is being held on a $360,000 cash or property bond – which was modified once already from the $360,000 cash only bond originally set – has been incarcerated in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail since Oct. 2, 2012, according to the TVRJ website.
Wilfong denied the modification of the bond, stating that it had already been modified previously.
In February, Shifflett was indicted on 50 counts of incest, a felony; 50 counts of first-degree sexual assault, a felony; and 50 counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian, a felony. The indictment alleges Shifflett had sexual intercourse with a family member under the age of 12 on numerous occasions between Oct. 1, 2011, and Sept. 30, 2012.
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