HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Attorneys for Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree have filed their response to Dave Ware's election challenge. The response includes signed affidavits from four jurors who said they never knew the final outcome of their votes until the judge read the verdict out loud.
DuPree's motion comes on the eve of Thursday mornings hearing before Judge William Coleman in which challenger Dave Ware is asking that he be declared the winner, based on the original jury verdict of 9-3.
According to DuPree's motions, there may never have been a 9-3 vote. The response says "The foreman of the jury chose to conduct the jury vote in secret by providing jurors with slips of paper that they were to be completed and deposited in a cup. The votes were then counted by the foreman and his count was announced to the room. The motion goes on to state, "Obviously the foreman miscounted and the polling of the jury rectified the mistake."
When Judge Coleman polled the jurors individually, the count was 8-4 in favor of Ware, but one vote short of Ware becoming Mayor.
According to signed affidavits included in DuPree's motion, none of the four jurors said they felt intimidated nor did they change their vote from DuPree. One juror said he asked the foreman for a recount but was denied. Another juror said the foreman asked if anyone was intimidated and everyone said no.
Ware is asking to be declared the winner based on the original 9-3 vote, or as an alternative, call a special election or set a re-trial.
The hearing will be carried live on wdam.com Thursday morning at 11:00 am.