Attorneys for William (Bull) Evans-Smith, who was convicted last summer of strangling his wife, are scheduled to return to Loudoun County Circuit Court in Leesburg today to request a new trial.
Blair D. Howard and David H. Moyes have said the jury's unanimous verdict on the second-degree murder charge was tainted because a juror improperly consulted an almanac during deliberations.
Juror Christine E. Nelson said in an affidavit filed in Circuit Court after the trial that she changed her vote to guilty partly based on information from an unnamed juror.
She said the juror cited his almanac to show that the sun would have been up on the morning of Barbara Evans-Smith's death, at the time when Evans-Smith said he saw a suspicious van in the glare of his car's headlights.
Commonwealth's Attorney William T. Burch, who prosecuted the case, said in a memorandum filed in court that the jury was polled, and Nelson affirmed in open court that the verdict of the jury was also her verdict.
"The general rule throughout the United States is that a jury verdict cannot be impeached by the testimony or affidavit of a juror as to what transpired in the jury room, including jury misconduct," Burch said in the memorandum.