Society

Bronx Mistrial Probed After Juror Katheryne Diop Falls for Murder Convict

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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The Bronx District Attorney’s office has launched an investigation into the hung jury trial of since-convicted murderer, Devon Thomas, after it appears a juror fell in love with him.

Katheryne Diop, 21, has visited Thomas, 28, at Rikers Island over 30 times, The Post reported. In 2008, Diop voted him not guilty in the shooting death of a 24-year-old aspiring basketball player, Abdoul Toure. Eventually the trial ended in a hung jury in June 2012.

On April 15, a second jury found Thomas guilty of first-degree manslaughter and possession of a handgun. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison by Judge James Kindler.

“She visits him [in jail] more often than his own family … He’s a very charismatic guy,” a source told The Post.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

Diop admitted to often visiting Thomas, but claims she truly felt that he was not guilty.

“I’m not the reason for the hung jury or the mistrial. I had no relationship with Devon before or during the trial. That’s impossible. I could get in trouble for that," she said.

His mother, Aissata Diane, claims Diop fell for Thomas in court and attempted to get other jurors to acquit him.

“He tried to start a relationship with her during the first trial for his own benefit,” Diane said. “She was hoping he could get off and [she could] start a relationship with him after he got out of jail.”

Diop appeared in court at his second trial. Thomas blew Diop a kiss after the guilty verdict was heard.

When Diane saw Diop in court supporting Thomas she lashed out at her. “She messed everything up in the first trial. That girl should be in jail!” Diane said. “She put us through a whole new trial. It was devastating to us. We had to relive it all over again. It was like [our son] dying again.”

Toure was shot dead on Halloween in 2008 during a neighborhood fight in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. He was a native of the Ivory Coast who came to the U.S. six years earlier. He was known by many in America as Terrance Taylor. At 6-foot-5, he had hoped to play basketball in America.

His sister, 23-year-old Anita Eke, said she cleaned his blood from the street after someone "shot him in the head."

"He was downstairs. He was just standing with friends," Eke told the New York Daily News on Nov. 1, 2008.

Thomas did not grant The Post an interview from prison. His attorney, Kyle Watters, said, “I can’t get involved in my clients’ social life. I’m just trying to get them out of jail.”

Sources: NY Post, Gothamist, NY Daily News