Jurors to be questioned on possible witness connection in Leath case

Jurors to be questioned on possible witness connection in Leath case

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Raynella Dossett Leath in March Raynella Dossett Leath in March

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Judge Richard Baumgartner will allow questioning of jurors in the Raynella Dossett Leath mistrial in March regarding their honesty during the selection process.

His decision comes after the prosecution revealed in a hearing Wednesday that they believe a juror may have been a close acquaintance of someone on a witness list.

Raynella was on trial for the fatal shooting of her second husband David Leath, but the jury deadlocked.

Prosecutors say they're ready to try Raynella again because they're 100 percent certain she  drugged David Leath and then shot him in the head.

She's also charged with murder in the death of her first husband, former Knox County District Attorney Ed Dossett. That case hasn't gone to trial yet.

Judge Baumgartner also denied the state's fourth attempt to have Dossett's body exhumed.

Dossett was terminally ill with cancer when he died in 1992, apparently trampled by cattle. However, the state claims an autopsy suggested he had enough morphine in him to kill him.

When the state filed its motion for exhumation in March, prosecutors said testimony from  Raynella's trial for David Leath's death supported the argument to exhume Dossett's body.

The state can still pursue an appeal to a higher court to try having Dossett's body exhumed.

Judge Baumgartner also denied motions Wednesday to acquit Raynella for David Leath's murder and to dismiss the charges against her. He said there was enough circumstantial evidence for the case to proceed.

The defense had claimed that Judge Baumgartner failed to properly disclose what the jurors deadlocked on, first degree murder or a lesser charge.

The judge said Wednesday he's positive that the way he worded it to the jurors means they deadlocked on the first degree murder charge, unable to come to a unanimous decision.

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