FLINT (WJRT) - (01/23/19) - A juror who participated in the first trial resulting from GHOST arrests said deliberations took 15 hours because jurors disagreed on the suspect's intent.
The juror, who did not want to be identified, was called upon to sit on the trial of George Huffman last week in Genesee County. Huffman is the first of 58 alleged child sex predators arrested by the GHOST team to stand trial.
The juror didn't expect his peers to take so many hours to deliberate after the two day trial.
"The first thing I said in the deliberation room was 'Are we all on the same page? This guy is a total creep, right.' And some people were like 'Ohh, not so fast,'" the juror said.
It took approximately 15 hours for 14 jurors to convict Huffman of child sexually abusive activity.
"He failed to take reasonable precautions and that was really the most critical part of it," the juror said.
The juror said it was obvious to him that Huffman showed up to a motel room to have sex with someone who he believed to be 14 years old. That someone was an undercover investigator with the Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team -- or GHOST.
Huffman was convicted on one of three charges and now faces up to 20 years in prison.
"There was definitely some disagreement among a number of jurors. They had doubts that maybe he was seeking consensual sexual activity with an adult, or he thought it was an adult, but for others on the jury we were pretty frustrated because it was pretty obvious," the juror said.
The jury acquitted him of accosting a child and using a computer to commit a crime. The juror says that was a big reason for the hold up inside the jury room.
"We got hung up on the word 'purpose.' It says, like, using a computer to communicate for the purpose of engaging in child sexually abusive activity. Some of the other jurors felt that that specifically meant he was getting on a computer to seek out a child versus getting on a computer to seek consensual sex with an adult or someone he thought was an adult," the juror said. "So they got really caught up on intention."
Huffman's attorney said he appreciates work the jury did and commends the jury on finding Huffman not guilty on two of the counts. He also said that he agreed with the jury that his client did not go to the motel with the intent of having sex with a 14-year-old.
Huffman's case is the first of the GHOST cases to go to trial of the 22 original suspects. He is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 18.