Former Hawai`i football star gets new trial

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – A justice of the state Supreme Court has granted a new

murder trial for former Hawaii quarterback Raphel Cherry.

Cherry, 37, of

Jacksonville, was sentenced to life in prison last August for the Dec. 22,

1998, death of his estranged wife, Jerri Cherry, 25.

Pulaski County Circuit

Judge Marion Humphrey ordered a new trial in September after jurors admitted

they talked about the case before deliberations that convicted Cherry of

murder.

The state asked the trial court to reconsider the decision, but the

request was denied. The state then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Justice

Donald L. Corbin on Friday allowed the decision to stand, saying Cherry is to

be retried within the next year. Humphrey had said he was troubled that jurors

apparently violated his instructions against talking about the case.

Prosecutors said none of the jurors said they had reached a conclusion before

deliberating.

On Aug. 26, jurors deliberated 90 minutes after a two-day

trial and found Cherry guilty in his wife’s death.

Mrs. Cherry had filed

for divorce two months before her death after a contentious relationship that

included a paternity suit in 1996 and marriage in 1997. The morning of her

death, her divorce attorney had served a subpoena for financial information

about Cherry’s National Football League pension and salary.

Cherry finished

his career as Hawaii’s passing leader with 5,046 yards, breaking 22 school

records. In 1983 and 1984, he was chosen as the team’s most valuable player. He

also played in the 1985 Hula Bowl.

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