Jurors Explain Why They Acquitted Homicide Suspect - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Jurors Explain Why They Acquitted Homicide Suspect

Lori and Adrian Rountree Lori and Adrian Rountree

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Earlier this month, a jury acquitted an undocumented immigrant of killing a mother and daughter.

Metro police thought they had plenty of evidence to convict Jose Murillo Sosa but the jury disagreed.

Sosa's fingerprints were found at the murder scene, but it wasn't enough to convict him, said two jurors.

They said it was obvious Sosa was inside the South Nashville home where Lori and Adrian Rountree were found stabbed to death nearly two years ago. 

Police arrested their 16-year old neighbor but two jurors said they were not convinced he committed the murders.

"We felt, for lack of better words, shortchanged when we're talking about a young man's life," said one juror. "We had questions that were valid in our minds."

Dan and George were both on the jury that found Sosa not guilty. George was the jury foreman.

They said the jury was convinced Sosa entered the home after the murders. That's why his fingerprints were there.

"The thumbprint, which was the one they leaned on, was found in blood, but they had no evidence to determine whether the blood was already there," said one man.

Prosecutors said Sosa's DNA was on a knife in the home.

"We had evidence of a bloody finger print belonging to the defendant as well as other fingerprints that were not bloody," said KATHY MORANTE, assistant district attorney.

Morante felt she had a good case. Not only did police find Sosa's fingerprints, they also found what they said was Sosa's DNA on a bloody knife.

The jurors said they were told it takes 13 markers on a DNA profile to positively identify a suspect, but they believe the evidence showed only five.

"It could have been his blood brothers who he was living with next door -- all these unanswered questions," said Dan, one of the jurors who didn't want his last name broadcast.

"Based upon the evidence, based on the testimony it was extremely weak, and the DNA was not at all sufficient," said George, who served as foreman for the jury.

The jurors took several votes before reaching the not guilty verdict.

The first vote was 8-4 not guilty, then 9-3 and then 11-1. After five and half hours a final vote was taken and it was a unanimous not guilty verdict.

Jurors also found it hard to believe a man who is five feet two inches tall and weighs 120 pounds could stab two people more than 80 times and come away without a mark or scratch.

"We've said we wouldn't want to see an innocent man spend time in jail.  The other side to that is we don't want a guilty man walking free.  I personally struggle with it," said Dan.

Davidson County Jail records show Sosa has been transferred out of the jail. He is an illegal immigrant and is supposed to be deported back to Honduras.


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