Documents show Wilmington 10 prosecutor sought ‘KKK’ jury
By Cash Michaels
Special to the NNPA from the Wilmington Journal
WILMINGTON, NC (NNPA) – In an extraordinary discovery, the 40-year-old case files of the prosecuting attorney in the two 1972 Wilmington Ten criminal trials not only document how he sought to impanel, according to his own written jury selection notes, mostly White “KKK” juries to guarantee convictions, but also to keep Black men from serving on both juries.
The prosecutor chose, in his own words, “Uncle Tom” types to serve on the jury, it was disclosed. The files of Assistant New Hanover County District Attorney James “Jay” Stroud Jr. also document how he plotted to cause a mistrial in the first June 1972 Wilmington Ten trial because there were 10 Blacks and two Whites on the jury, his star false witness against the Ten was not cooperating, and it looked very unlikely that he could win the case, given the lack of evidence.
History shows that prosecutor Stroud told the presiding judge that he had become “ill,” as that first trial began, and a mistrial was indeed declared. It was during the second trial, 40 years ago this week, that Stroud got a jury more to his liking – this time 10 Whites and two Black domestic workers – and a different judge who was arguably biased against the defense.