Post Traumatic Stress and Jury Duty

WILMINGTON -- Being judged by a jury of your peers is one of the cornerstones of our justice system.

While most people don't carry a burden from time in the jury box, others are left emotionally scarred.

They may see graphic images, hear disturbing testimonies, or be forced to make a life or death decision.

Some jurors are haunted by their time in the courtroom.

One would think that John Doe was a victim of a crime by the way he looks, but he wasn't.

Instead, Doe, a man who doesn't want his name to be known, was a jury member in a very high profile case.

Two years later, he is still haunted by the trial.

"It was a cold blooded killing, when you shoot a man once maybe it was an accident but when you shoot him three times," said Doe.

He was one of 12 jurors who convicted Darrell Maness of killing a Boiling Spring Lakes police officer.

It was a brutal crime, where the jury was exposed to gruesome evidence and terrifying testimony.

On top of it all, they were asked to decide if the defendant should live or die, which made it difficult for everyone who served on the jury.

"It was a difficult decision.  Some cried, some had nightmares, some had breakdowns," said Doe.

Recent studies suggest some jurors suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.  While some states have started offering counseling services for these jury members, North Carolina isn't one of them.

Until North Carolina looks into this counseling service, jury members like Doe will be left to deliberate their time of service.

Reported by Kelli O'Hara