A juror in the Cessna plane crash case said Thursday that the case was “a toss-up” and might have resulted in a verdict for either side had it not settled on the eve of jury deliberations.
The female Edgartown resident, who did not want to be identified by name, said the panel bonded during the monthlong trial but abided by the judge’s instructions to refrain from discussing the case or drawing any conclusions until all the evidence had been presented.
The trial ended abruptly Wednesday afternoon when pilot Alec Naiman reached a settlement with Cessna. Last Friday, his two passengers in the plane had settled with the aircraft manufacturer.
The jurors were to hear closing arguments Thursday morning but instead were informed of the settlement by Dukes county superior court Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty 2nd, who thanked them for their service and answered some of their questions.
The juror said the judge’s trial instructions served as a valuable lesson that she intends to apply in her life.
“You know the old story, there’s two sides to a story. The truth is somewhere in the middle,” the juror said.
She praised the lawyers and the judge, and recommended the experience of jury duty to anyone. “What a civics lesson,” she said. “It really was amazing.”
“There were times it was like watching paint dry,” she said about some of the testimony. “But then we would be on the edge of our seats.”
Instead of talking about the case, the jurors instead discussed “our lives, our hopes, our dreams.” At one point during the trial, she hosted a lunch for all the jurors. And, she added, they plan a reunion soon.
“We came in there as strangers,” she said, “and we bonded.”
— John H. Kennedy