Holdout juror in McCallum murder trial accused of hitting child

News-DemocratSeptember 16, 2013 

The holdout juror in the double murder trial of Randall McCallum Jr. last week faces a battery charge for allegedly striking a child whose last name is McCallum.

Charmaine Barnes, 31, of Brooklyn, was a juror in McCallum's murder trial, which ended Wednesday in a mistrial after a lone juror refused to vote for a conviction. She is accused of striking Michael G. McCallum in the face with her open hand on Sept. 11, 2012 -- a year to the day when a St. Clair County jury that included Barnes was unable to decide whether Randall McCallum Jr. was guilty of the shooting deaths of Charles D. Black and Kevin McVay.

Two jurors who served with Barnes identified her as the lone juror who voted against finding McCallum guilty. They identified her after looking at a copy of her mugshot.

Attempts to reach Barnes for comment have been unsuccessful. The battery case against her is pending.

The charge against Barnes was filed by the Brooklyn Police Department. The victim is listed in court documents as "Michael G. McCallum, a minor."

St. Clair County court records list a Michael McCallum, 26, at 3918 E. Broadway in Alorton. He is the cousin of Randall McCallum and the father of the child victim in the battery case against Barnes.

Randall McCallum's lawyer, John O'Gara, said that the prosecution ran criminal background checks on the potential jurors before they were selected.

State's Attorney Brendan Kelly countered that jurors were also questioned about past and present criminal cases.

"It's a standard question during (oral questioning) whether they have any pending cases within St. Clair County," Kelly said. "It is the duty of potential jurors to answer those questions completely and honestly."

Both Kelly and O'Gara said if they would have known about the pending ordinance violation, they would have asked more questions.

"Certainly both sides would have further questioned any potential juror to determine if he or she could have been a fair or impartial member of the jury and removed a juror if appropriate. The defense wants a fair trial and so do the people," Kelly said.

"Both parties are better off when jurors tell us things during (jury selection)," O'Gara said. "It's best to get the jurors talking about themselves so you need an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable. Why did she slip through the cracks? I don't know."

When Barnes refused to vote guilty on the murder charge related to Black, the other jurors ripped up the not guilty verdict they signed on McVay's murder, the jurors said.

If the jury would have acquitted of McVay's murder, O'Gara said that McCallum would no longer face a mandatory life sentence for Black's murder.

"So, we all lost something here," O'Gara said.

On Thursday, after the mistrial, Kelly stated he would retry McCallum on the murder charges. He declined to say what, if any, action his office would seek against Barnes.

Barnes' next court date on the misdemeanor battery charge is Nov. 19 before Associate Judge Chris Kolker.

Black and McVay, both 21 and both of East St. Louis, were found lying on a Washington Park street corner on Sept. 18, 2009. Both had been shot multiple times.

Before he was fatally shot, Black made a 911 call that named McCallum as the shooter. Gunshots can then be heard. A tape of that 911 call was played for the jury.

The two jurors interviewed stated the jury voted to acquit McCallum on the murder charge related to McVay, but wanted to vote guilty on the Black charge, largely because of a 911 call placed by Black during the shooting that names McCallum as the "shooter."

After eight hours of deliberations, the jury emerged and said they were unable to render a verdict. St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic, who presided over the trial, declared a mistrial.

McCallum Jr.'s father is Randy McCallum, the former mayor of Alorton. Last year, he pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of crack cocaine, theft of $1,000 from the village, providing a controlled substance to an inmate and lying to a federal agent. McCallum smuggled candy bars, cigarettes and a blunt -- a cigar filled with marijuana -- into the county jail to his son, according to federal court documents. He was sentenced to 46 months in prison.

McCallum Jr. remains in the St. Clair County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at bhundsdorfer@bnd.com or 618-239-2570

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