FORT WORTH, Texas -- Some jurors who convicted a 17-year-old white supremacist of killing a black man said they never intended to grant probation with no prison time, a verdict one juror said made him 'sick, really sick.'
Six of the 12 jurors said in Thursday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram that they were confused about sentencing guidelines before they handed Christopher Brosky a five-year prison term and 10 years probation.
Jurors were outraged when Judge Everett Young read the verdict Tuesday and announced a probated sentence for Brosky, one of three teens accused in the murder case. Brosky was ordered to spend 180 days in jail.
The all-white jury convicted Brosky Monday. The two other youths have already pleaded guilty to murder.
The sentence sparked a protest by about 300 people Wednesday and a call for a federal civil rights investigation by Rep. Martin Frost, D- Texas, whose district includes parts of Arlington, where the crime occurred.
Donald Thomas, 32, was fatally shot June 7, 1991 as he was talking with some white friends and drinking beer outside his Arlington home.
Juror Ruel Barbee, one of seven men on the jury, said 'I am sick, really sick to my stomach. We thought we gave him five years in prison and 10 years' probation.'
Sentencing guidelines given to the jury state that any verdict recommending probation shall result in a suspended sentence. By assessing probation, the jury essentially cancelled the recommendation for prison time.
Juror William Wertz blasted Young for not providing clear directions. Wertz, 71, said, 'He gave poor instructions to a group of people who were not attorneys.'
Marvin Collins, an assistant Tarrant County district attorney and former U.S. attorney, said Texas is one of only eight states that permits juries to determine sentences and it should have been done away with in the 19th century.