Gavel, with defocused law books behind.
After five hours of deliberation after three days of testimony, a jury returned a guilty verdict against Joshua Joseph MacDonald-Pose on Friday evening.
The jury began deliberating around 4:30 p.m. Friday and reported that it delivered its verdict just after 9:30 p.m.
Jurors returned guilty verdicts against MacDonald-Pose, 34, of first-degree manslaughter, driving under the influence of intoxicants and two counts of witness tampering.
MacDonald-Pose starting the day at the helm, recounting his version of the May 2016 motorcycle accident that resulted in the death of John J. Soule, 39, of Gold Hill.
MacDonald-Pose had a compound leg fracture among his injuries in the accident.
As prosecutors built their case on MacDonald-Pose colliding with Soule while driving together on Interstate 5 near Rogue River, defense attorneys argued that one of the eyewitnesses caused the ‘deadly accident.
David Jackson was driving on I-5 that night with Jennifer Bauer and their four children after a day-long family outing, according to earlier testimony. Jackson said he pulled right after someone flashed headlights on him, even though he wasn’t driving too slowly.
After vehicles passed on the left, Jackson and Bauer heard, then saw, the bikers ride on their left, they testified. They add that MacDonald-Pose appeared to have passed out and bent over Soule before pulling off the road.
The defense, however, says Jackson drifted into the fast lane on a curve and ultimately caused the motorcyclists to crash.
MacDonald-Pose testified that he was driving to the left of Soule at the critical point and that they were not moving as fast as the prosecution claims. The defendant also stated that he was not drunk enough to have lost control of his motorbike.
According to the testimonies of witnesses, the motorcyclists were in opposite positions but always on their right.
Defense attorney Clayton Lance repeatedly objected during cross-examination as prosecutor Nicholas Geil attempted to question MacDonald-Pose about his background. The jury was expelled from the courtroom on some occasions while the judge and attorneys left the room at other times.
“Every time I get to a helpful question, I get cut off,” Geil told Jackson County District Judge Timothy Barnack.
MacDonald-Pose said he was a former member of the Freebird Motorcycle Club. He also said the call that prosecutors say was an attempt to deter the witnesses was to ask his uncle to get someone to look into the backgrounds of the witnesses.
Lance told Barnack that his objections were “for character reasons by association”.
Barnack said he would allow Geil to continue because he was trying to establish that Jackson and Bauer “were very afraid” of the defendant and his associates.
In his closing argument, Lance said MacDonald-Pose “must be the cause of the accident, not part of the chain of events” in order to convict him of manslaughter.
Lance also asked them to “not make decisions based on sympathy or prejudice.”
Assistant District Attorney Melissa LeRitz said MacDonald-Pose had already been convicted twice for DUII and said the defense’s arguments made no sense when compared to expert witnesses who recreated the scene.
Although MacDonald-Pose had no intention of Soule dying that night, LeRitz said, his medical BAC test taken before midnight was 0.11 and his subsequent BAC test was slightly below the legal limit of 0.08.
With the first drunk driving convictions that night, he had “multiple opportunities” to learn from his mistakes and “should have done better,” LeRitz said.