Appeals judge lets murder conviction stick

Published 10:35 am Monday, April 9, 2012

COURTLAND—An appeals judge determined the court did not err by allowing a woman related to two witnesses to be a juror in the murder trial of Newsoms man serving life in prison.

Appeals Judge William Petty did not overturn Troy Mayfield’s conviction in Southampton County Circuit Court for killing Brandon Keith Turner on March 3, 2009, at the Oak Trail Apartments in Courtland.

Authorities say the 30-year-old shot Turner to keep him from testifying against Mayfield’s half-brother, Eric Parker. Parker was sentenced to 23 years for his role in the murder.

Courtland Attorney Drew Page, who represented Mayfield on the appeal, said Monday he will appeal Petty’s decision to the Virginia Supreme Court.

“We’re taking it to the next step,” Page said. “It was a murder conviction. A lot of judges are nervous about overturning those in Virginia.”

Page noted that one of jurors had a nephew who was a key witness for the prosecution, who placed Mayfield at the scene of the murder. The information about the juror being a relative became known during jury selection, yet the judge allowed.

“What happens when we have the same issue come up again, now it’s binding case law,” Page said.

During jury selection, the juror in question testified she would have not have a problem deciding the case with a relative as a witness.

She said she could put aside her relationship with the witnesses and impartially evaluate their testimony, that she had no preconceived notions regarding the witnesses’ truthfulness, and that she could be fair to both Mayfield and the prosecution, according to court records.

The appeal also argued that the trial court erred when it allowed the admission of evidence relating to a prior incident involving Mayfield’s half-brother and the victim and that the evidence was insufficient to convict Mayfield.