Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

Man killed just hours after being set free due to a jury's error

A jury's mistake on Wednesday allowed Bobby Lee Pearson to beat burglary charges, but his freedom was short lived: just hours after he was released, Pearson was stabbed to death in a fight. As the Fresno Bee reports, the boyfriend of Pearson's sister has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Just hours before Pearson's death, a jury signed a not-guilty form because they did not have one for a deadlock; jurors were split 8 to 4 in favor of finding Pearson guilty. The judge had to let Pearson go because the not-guilty verdict was put on the record. Pearson then went to his sister's house to reclaim some property, and began to argue with her boyfriend, Willie Gray. The fight continued outside, and when police arrived, a steak knife was found next to Pearson.

If a mistrial had been declared, prosecutor Billy Terrence said he would have retried Pearson, who was facing 15 to 20 years in prison. "We would have continued prosecution on him and he would still be in custody," he said. "The idea that he was released under those circumstances and it ended for him like that is very unfortunate."