During the lengthy sequestration of the Mandel corruption trial jury, Stevarlon A. Gross repeatedly dreamed that one of the marshals "turned into a witch and came through an adjoining door to my room after me."
Gross dreamed that in order to escape she went into the motel hallway "and there was another marshal waiting for me. Then I woke up." In another dream, "I could hear clanging noises on the balcony and I would think someone was throwing a rope up on the balcony trying to come after me. I would hear noises through the walls and I would awaken suddenly."
Fitful sleep punctuated by bad dreams was not unique to 19-year-old Gross, a juror from Silver Spring, who became ill twice during the proceedings but nonetheless stuck it out.
Interviews with several juror since the verdict Tuesday, in which Gov. Marvin Mandel and codefendants William A. Rodgers, Harry W. Rodgers, Irvin Kovens, and W. Dale Hess were each found guilty on 18 counts of mail fraud and racketeering, revealed similar experiences of stress resulting from the 12-week-long sequestration from the outside world.
The jurors spoke of themselves as prisoneners having virtually no privacy while the defendants whose fates they were to decide came and went as they pleased on personal recognizance bonds during the course of the trial. But they also talked of the friendship they formed among themselves during the ordeal, and they now plan to meet at an undisclosed location soon for a reunion picnic.
The jury experience however, was viewed as a decidedly unpleasant experience. Theodore T. Brown, the 27-year-old juror whose sudden hospitalization during the deliberations sparked speculation about a mistrial, found the sequestration a troubling experience he does not wish to repeat.
"It got to the point where I couldn't sleep at night, not being able to look out the window of the bus, having marshals listening in on my phone calls, not being able to watch TV," said Brown. "I felt like a prisoner."
Juror Calvin G. Lambson, 66, a retired Baltimore high school coach and teacher, said that the eighth floor of the Woodlawn Ramada Inn in suburban Baltimore, where the jurors lived during their deliberations, was equipped with a closed circuit camera that continously scanned the hallway.
All room phones were disconnected, leaving the jurors with one shared hallway telephone that could be more easily conitored.
William H. Mann, of Gaithersburg called home "just about every sight," according to Clarisse Mann, his wife. She said the couple's son, Mark, saw Mann on Sundays for an hour at the motel. Marshals stayed in the room with them, listening to their conversation, which usually revolved around Mark's football practive at Ridgeview Junior High School and which family bills should be paid first.
The jurors were allowed to watch television programs that had been taped and to read newspapers that had been censored of all Mandel-related news. Mary E. Britton, 21, of Glen Burnie found the dipped newspapers the jurors received "like reading confetti," and missed television weather reports most.
"I'd have given anything to drive my car," an aging Volkswagen, said Britton. "It wasn't until about a week ago that I heard a cricket all summer."
Despite the intense security and restrictions on the jurors' every move, several said they developed fondness and respect for the marshals. Even Gross, with her marshal-turned-witch dream, said she became good friends with the marshals, one of whom taught her to knit.
Gross, in turn, taught many of the jurors how to play cards, a pastime that occupied her when she was not listening to taped spiritual music.
Steven E. M Campbell, 23, a Carroll County social worker, termed the marshals "tremendous." When the jurors became dissatissfied with the hotel food he said, "it just got to the point where people weren't eating and the marshals would take them out" to eat.
For exercise, several jurors walked the length of the hallway seven times daily, a total distance of about a mile, and one marshal brought in his own exercise bicycle for their use. At the suggestion of juror Lambson, the marshals obtained a ping-pong table a tournament was begun but never finished.
The table-top game of "Sorry" became such a popular pastime that the number of sets in use grew from one to three by end of the trial.
On weekends, the jurors were bused to such areas of interest as Gettysburg and nearby Pennsylvania Dutch country. One one occasion, the bus driver took them to his home for a picnic.
Mary Britton often entertained the group with her singing and guitar-playing, and even wrote a song about the marshals which she and Campbell performed together on the last day.
Boyfriends, husbands and birth control were frequent topics of conversation among the jurors. The group became so close-knit that when one juror and one alternate were excused during the trial because of illness, the rest felt their "world crumbling," according to Sandra Brooks, 33, who lives in the Dundalk section of Baltimore County.
"If we thought that anyone was down in the dumps, we'd do anything to get that person out of it," she said. Howard O. Davis, the 67-year-old foreman from Western Maryland, became her special friend, almost a father-figure, she said, with whom she often sat at meals and on the bus.
During their three-month sequestration, Brown said he gained 15 to 20 pounds. But the long separation has an opposite effect on Bill Hogg, Brooks' boyfriend, who lost 20 pounds.
"I couldn't accept it," he said. "I was hurt angry at her because she didn't try to get out of it (being a jury member) . . .I missed her . . .I just couldn't eat."
Thomas H. Franz III, according to other jurors, became a juror Monopoly game champion. But he said he was consumed by the conflict between his feeling that the defendants were "not guilty" and the evidence against them and his feelings "kept me awake at nights. I couldn't fall asleep until three in the morning, and then I'd wake up three or four hours later, he said.
When he couldn't sleep, during the first week of deliberations, Franz summarized for himself on a small legal pad the doubts he had about the defendants' guilt.Then he said he would take his papers with him from his motel room to the jury room and read them to the 11 other jurors.
Franz also "prayed a lot" and read the Scriptures, "especially the Proverbs and "Psalms" from the Bible found in his room. He read fiction "for the first time in my adult life and enjoyed it, he said.