NEW HANOVER CO. -- The Peyton Strickland case was just one of 127 the grand jury heard on Monday. The jurors voted not to indict on only two of those cases. And for both of them, the jury foreman checked the wrong box on the indictment form.
The more familiar case is the incorrect indictment of former New Hanover County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Long. The other involved Cedric Duwayne Bowden, accused of rape and breaking and entering.
John Hatton is the jury foreman, the citizen in charge of marking the boxes. He works for a division of the Wilmington Housing Authority and made a statement in an e-mail:
"The jury did not vote for the indictment. I marked the wrong box, indicating they had. It has been corrected to reflect the vote of the jury, rejecting the indictment. I have no further comments."
Other jurors we spoke to off camera say it was an honest mistake on Hatton's part. They voted not to indict and deny they were under any pressure or there was any conspiracy to clear Long of wrongdoing.