05/08/17 — Hearing continued in case of deputy who spoke to juror

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Hearing continued in case of deputy who spoke to juror

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on May 8, 2017 3:33 PM

Capt. Steve Mozingo of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office could potentially be found in contempt of court after he self-reported that he spoke with a juror during the course of a recent murder trial in which he testified.

Wayne County Sheriff's Office Capt. Steve Mozingo's contempt of court hearing today was continued until May 30.

The show cause hearing -- in which Mozingo will need to show cause for why he should not be found in contempt of court -- was continued because an out-of-district district attorney could not be secured to prosecute the case prior to today's scheduled hearing.

Mozingo has the hearing to determine whether he will be found in contempt after speaking to a juror during the first-degree murder trial of Kenneth Morgan Stancil III.

Mozingo testified in Stancil's trial Thursday, April 27, and called District Attorney Matt Delbridge later that same day to report he had spoken to the juror about the case.

Delbridge told Superior Court Judge Jay Hockenbury, who is presiding over the case, Mozingo has an office at Wayne Community College and the juror teaches classes there every Monday and Thursday night.

When Mozingo saw the juror that night after he testified, he asked the juror if he understood the testimony he gave during the trial.

The juror told him that he understood, but that he could not be talking to him about the case.

It was then that Mozingo called Delbridge to self-report what had happened.

The next day, Friday, April 28, Mozingo was brought into the courtroom before the trial resumed to be told he would have a show cause hearing about whether he should be found in criminal contempt of court.

The juror Mozingo spoke to was an alternate juror in the trial, and was cleared to sit on the jury by both Delbridge, who prosecuted the Stancil case, and Stancil's defense attorney, Walter Webster.

After the incident, Hockenbury excused the juror from the jury.

Prior to the trial starting, the jurors were admonished by the court to not visit the scene of the crime. Stancil killed print shop technician Ron Lane on the campus of Wayne Community College.

The juror told Hockenbury he did not speak with any other jurors about Mozingo speaking to him, and that he did not initiate the contact.

When Mozingo appeared in court today, about 50 members of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office sat in the courtroom in their uniforms for the duration of the proceeding.