The judge in the murder trial of Billy Ray Waldon took under submission Wednesday a move for a mistrial, based on allegations that one of the jurors said he would go along with the rest of the jury if it voted to convict.
Waldon, however, said in an interview Wednesday evening that he doesn't want the juror expelled and was forced to request a mistrial because the judge found out about the juror's comments.
"That's my best juror," Waldon said. "Why would I want to get rid of my best juror?"
Waldon said the juror told a plasterer in a bar in Tijuana that, even though he thought Waldon was innocent, he would go along with the majority if they voted to convict Waldon.
The plasterer then mentioned to a lawyer what the juror had said, and the lawyer informed the court, Waldon said.
Superior Court Judge David M. Gill interviewed the plasterer Wednesday for about 30 minutes in closed session in the presence of Waldon, his counsel, Nancy Rosenfeld and Mark Chambers, and Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Carpenter.
Gill took the testimony under submission and is expected to announce his decision today. Gill could call a mistrial or dismiss the juror and replace him with an alternate.
Gill dismissed one juror earlier in the trial who said serving on the jury was intensifying his chronic migraine headaches.
Waldon is accused of three murders, one attempted murder and a rape in 1985 and 1986.
He said his investigator, Beth Cotton, violated a written contract and informed his counselor Nancy Rosenfeld about the juror.
"Nancy wants to get rid of him," Waldon said. "She said, 'Oh, it's an attorney's responsibility.' I said, 'You're not the attorney, I am!' "
Waldon is acting as his own defense lawyer.
"She went ratting to the judge about it," he said. "I objected to Ms. Rosenfeld's speaking. She said she had to do it because of a rule of professional conduct.
"Once the prosecutor knew about it, I had no choice but to request a mistrial. What I wanted to do was keep it secret. That way I could have had my juror."
Before Waldon, 39, took the stand for the second time this week, Gill warned him to present evidence as opposed to drawing conclusions.
"Frankly, I'm convinced that you're making this up as you go along," Gill said.
Carpenter agreed, saying that Waldon's testimony "has not been a meritorious defense, but an attempt to confuse the jury."
Before the closed hearing, Waldon took the stand for about 90 minutes Wednesday, alternately testifying and questioning himself.
Waldon described in detail his duties as a naval electric warfare technician and a naval hospital corpsman. Later, he took several minutes to draw a map showing the house and the street where he said he was kidnaped on the day of his arrest by three men who planted evidence on him linking him to the crimes. Several times during Waldon's self-inquisition, jury members covered their mouths to suppress laughter, and, after a while, chuckled openly.
Waldon also had an Oklahoma man translate dedications that Waldon had written in 1985 to his wife in a Cherokee prayer book and on a scrap of newspaper. Waldon said he hoped that the content of the writings would show that he was not in the frame of mind to commit crimes at the time.
Carpenter, however, said he thought the inscriptions had been made after Waldon had decided to submit them as evidence.
Times staff writer Amy Wallace contributed to this story.