Meth mistrial

Talib Mujadid glances at the jury as he sits with public defender Michael Mitchell in Jones County Circuit Court in Ellisville. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

 

Mujahid trial reset for May

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A Laurel man who was known for his theatrics in Jones County Circuit Court will get an encore in May after a jury failed to reach a decision in his trial on Monday.

Talib Mujahid, 62, was charged with selling methamphetamine, but a jury in Ellisville was unable to reach a verdict, so a mistrial was declared and it was rescheduled for May 9.

Mujahid was accused of selling .3 grams of meth to Clifton Stokes, a confidential informant for the Jones County Sheriff’s Department who testified in the trial, along with JCSD narcotics officers Sgts. James Stiglet and Jared Lindsey. The transaction, which was captured on video, took place in the KFC parking lot in Ellisville on July 5, 2016.

“I notice two big differences between the narrative and the testimonies given today,” Mujahid’s public defender Michael Mitchell said in his closing argument. “First, there is nothing in the narrative stating that the officers followed the confidential informant to the location of the exchange, or anything reporting that his partner positively identified the seller like he testified. Those are two very important points someone would want to remember and include in the report, but did not.

“You also have a confidential informant who is a convicted felon who continues to struggle with a drug problem. He was paid to buy from Mr. Mujahid, and if he came back to the officers not buying from Mr. Mujahid, he may not have gotten his money because that is who they paid him to buy from in the first place.”

Assistant District Attorney Kristen Martin countered with, “Two witnesses testified to seeing his face. I think if you go back over all this evidence and all the testimonies that you will return a verdict of guilty.”

The jury — made up of five white women, five white men and two black men — announced that they were hopelessly deadlocked at 9-3 after about an hour of deliberation. Judge Dal Williamson reset the trial for May 9. 

Mujahid’s criminal history includes convictions for armed robbery and forgery, when his name was Lynwood McGhee. He converted to Islam while he was in prison, and in his earlier court appearances for hearings on this case, he battled with his own public defenders and turned his back to the judge.

Mujahid will remain in the Jones County Adult Detention Center until his retrial.

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