Andrews: Rogers will serve time

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2005

Crenshaw County District Attorney John Andrews said he expects Teresa Rogers, convicted on Thursday of one count of jury tampering in the capital murder trial of Westley Devone Harris, to serve her 90 days in jail.

"She'll have to serve it at some point," stated Andrews emphatically on Friday.

In November, juror Willie Fred Johnson, 49, and Rogers, 35, were arrested amid charges of perjury and tampering, bringing a halt to the trial of Harris, who stands accused of killing six people in August of 2002. The victims, Mila Ruth Ball, 62; her daughter JoAnn Ball, 35; JoAnn's common-law husband Willie Hasley, 40; and their sons, Jerry Ball, 19, Tony Ball, 17, and John Ball, 14, were all relatives of Harris' ex-girlfriend, Janice Denise Ball.

On Thursday, Rogers was sentenced to 90 days in jail, fined $500 and placed on unsupervised probation for one year by District Judge Thomas Sport. Rogers and her lawyer, Robert Prescott Jr., filed a notice of appeal following Sport's ruling and was released on $2,000 bond later that day. Also, charged with two counts of jury tampering, Rogers was convicted on just one count in a non-jury trial.

Jury tampering is a Class B misdemeanor.

"We would have liked to seen her start serving time immediately," said Andrews. "We also felt she should have been convicted on both counts but we can respect the judge's decision."

It was Andrews who alerted Circuit Judge Edward McFerrin to the possibility of jury tampering just two weeks into Harris' trial. McFerrin declared the mistrial soon after.

Andrews said McFerrin has not yet made a ruling on whether or not Harris' trial will remain in Crenshaw County.

"We haven't heard anything about a change of venue," said Andrews. "I still imagine the judge is contemplating what he's going to do and don't think he's decided one way or the other yet."

Johnson, charged with perjury, a Class C felony, is due to appear in court on March 21. Simon Benson, an agent with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, told Sport that Johnson visited Rogers' house while the trial was in process and was not told to leave, which made her in violation of the law.

"He faces up to 10 years in the penitentiary," Andrews said of Johnson following the mistrial.