MIAMI COUNTY — A federal court judge has ordered an evidentiary hearing on Patrick McGail’s claim of juror misconduct.
U.S. District Federal Court Judge Walter Rice ordered the hearing in Miami County Common Pleas Court to be held within 90 days or McGail would be released from prison.
McGail, now 22, was sentenced to serve 24 years to life for his role in the home invasion, which led to the murder of Nathan Wintrow on Oct. 30, 2013, in Troy.
Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell met with the victim, Nathan Wintrow’s family following an attorney conference regarding the decision on Tuesday . Kendell did not comment on specifics of the hearing, only stating the hearing will be held on January 25, 2019, in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
According to the ruling filed on Nov. 13, “The evidentiary hearing will concern questions of what the jury foreperson said about McGail and/or his family’s church attendance and/or participation and its impact on the jury and its members.”
Judge Rice’s conclusion also stated that McGail could be “discharged from custody unless he is give a prompt evidentiary hearing not later than 90 days from date, in the Miami County Common Pleas Court on his claim of juror misconduct.”
Following a jury trial, McGail was convicted of two counts of murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery. McGail was part of an armed home invasion of Wintrow’s Troy home on Oct. 30, 2013. Wintrow was shot and killed by co-defendant Jason Sowers during the altercation. McGail testified in the jury trial that he was aware of the planning for the robbery but claimed he did not enter Wintrow’s home. Sowers entered a plea of guilty, along with Brendon Terrel, co-defendant. Sowers was sentenced to serve 18 years to life and Terrel was sentenced to serve 14 years to life following plea agreements with the state and testified against McGail. Sowers and McGail entered the home during the invasion while Terrel acted as a lookout outside of Wintrow’s home.
In the court decision, a juror testified in her affidavit, “My decision was influenced to vote ‘Guilty’ when the jury foreman … told the jury that he goes to St. Patrick’s Church the same church McGail testified going to and that he had never seen Patrick or his family at that church, so McGail must be lying. This information influenced me to not believe Patrick’s testimony. As a result of (foreman’s name) personal representation, I found Patrick McGail ‘Guilty.’”
The affidavit also stated that another juror said “he had read newspaper articles about the case, discussed one of the articles with (the juror named in the affidavit) on the final day of deliberations and that these articles were slanted against McGails’ innocence and included the statements that he was the shooter. (The juror named in the affidavit) stated that being told what the newspaper said also influenced her decision to find McGail guilty.”
In July 2016, Judge Christopher Gee denied a request for McGail’s sentence to be reduced on grounds that McGail failed to show remorse for his role in the murder of Nathan Wintrow during his jury trial.
During the jury trial, McGail was represented by former attorney Christopher Bucio. Bucio was later indefinetly suspended from practicing law in November 2017 after he was convicted of felony unathorized use of property in Shelby County Common Pleas Court in January 2017. The opinion also ordered that Bucio not be allowed to apply for reinstatement until after he completes the five-year community control sanction he received as part of his criminal sentence.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org