A juror in the trial of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry said last night the panel was deadlocked on whether he had committed perjury, and voted 6 to 6 on the drug possession charge arising out of the Vista Hotel sting.
Johnnie Mae Hardeman, 61, said the panel split 6 to 6 on one of the perjury counts against Barry and, though she could not recall with certainty after eight long days of deliberation, she believed it voted 7 to 5 for acquittal on the two other perjury charges.
Seven other jurors reached last night declined to provide details of their votes on the perjury and Vista counts or on the eight other counts that the panel left unresolved, seven of which involved possession of cocaine and one of which involved conspiracy.
Interviewed at her home in Northeast Washington, Hardeman said she believed prosecutors had unfairly singled out Barry for prosecution, and she said she doubted the credibility of key witnesses Charles Lewis and Hazel Diane "Rasheeda" Moore.
Lewis, a former D.C. government employee, provided the basis for the three perjury counts against Barry. Moore, a former girlfriend of Barry's, enticed him to the Vista in January, where federal agents secretly videotaped him smoking crack cocaine in her room. Hardeman suggested she wanted more evidence than just their testimony, or even the videotape.
"All they had was what the witnesses said. They didn't have anything they could put their hands on and say he did it," Hardeman said.
"I think it was entrapment," she said of the Vista sting. "The government can go so far. When they put this lady in there, that was too far. She was just the government witness . . . . It wasn't the crack he wanted. Really, what he wanted was sex. He's a man, so I put it like that. I didn't like it but I'll leave it like that."
Hardeman, who lost her job at Garfinkel's department store when it was going out of business, would not reveal how the jury voted on most of the cocaine possession charges. While it convicted Barry on one count and acquitted him on another, it could not reach a verdict on the eight other counts of possession, one of which involved the Vista sting.
The jury, which was composed of 10 blacks and two whites, also did not reach a verdict on charges that Barry had lied to a grand jury when he said he was unaware of Lewis's involvement with drugs, had never gotten drugs from him and never gave him drugs. It also was deadlocked on a single conspiracy count.
Hardeman said the case was "the government against the mayor," meaning that prosecutors had singled out Barry, a charge made by defense attorney R. Kenneth Mundy and often heard in the community during the course of the trial.
"Evidently, somebody wanted him out of there," Hardeman said, "or else they would not have brought all these charges for so long." Asked if she would vote for Barry if he ran again for office, she said, "Sure, I would vote for him."
She described the deliberations as filled with "tension, excitement, a little of everything . . . . It was a very tense struggle." But she said that jurors "got along fine."
The seven other jurors contacted last night either declined to comment about the case or offered only hints of what had gone on in the jury.
Jury foreman Edward P. Eagles, 54, a history teacher at St. Albans School, refused to disclose what the votes had been on each of the undecided counts, saying, "You're just not going to hear it."
Eagles, interviewed outside his home, said the issue of race "had not come up" during deliberations. Asked if he thought the government's conduct in the case was wrong, Eagles said, "I don't think we tried to psych out what the government's purposes were. I think we tried to deal with what was there before us, the testimony, the evidence."
The jury's inability to reach a verdict on 12 of the 14 counts, he said, stemmed from what he called "that famous phrase, that key phrase in law, 'beyond a reasonable doubt.' "
"That's a very, very tough standard to meet," Eagles said.
He said that there had been "no anger" among the jurors. Asked if there was bitterness, he said, "You'll have to ask the others. I don't believe that there's bitterness . . . . I think you can view things differently and disagree without going after each other emotionally."
Juror Deborah Noel, 34, who had brought the deliberations to a halt Thursday after she was admitted to a hospital overnight for stress, lashed out at reporters waiting outside her home last night.
"Get out of my face," said Noel, a resident of Southeast Washington who works as a clinical clerk at Howard University Hospital. "I'm sick of you." She was then ushered into her house by family members. Her mother then closed the front door, saying, "Thank you, very much, and good night."
Marsena Renee Hall, 22, a typist for D.C. public schools who lives in Southeast, was greeted at her home by a group of relatives. She said only that she was "happy to be home."
"That's it," she said, "I'm going to bed."