Judge sets Basil verdict aside, will have new trial

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The guilty verdict against Jeffrey Basil was set aside Tuesday morning by State Supreme Court Justice Penny Wolfgang, meaning he will likely get his chance for a new trial.

If prosecution does not appeal the judge’s decision, Basil will face the same charges in the new trial, which has not been scheduled yet.  The next court date for the matter will be June 9.

A jury in January found Jeffrey Basil guilty of second-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the death of National Guardsman William Sager. Attorneys for Jeffrey Basil called for a new trial after information surfaced that attorneys say revealed that a juror concealed information about a prior arrest and her military history in the armed forces. They say this denied Basil a fair and impartial verdict.

Judge Wolfgang said, “the right to a fair and unbiased jury is sacrosanct.”

MORE | Find more reaction from Sager’s family here. 

Sager’s fiancé was in court Tuesday and was in tears as the decision to set aside the verdict was read. That has prosecution unhappy with how the trial has played out.

“The judicial process has let that family down, and they not only had to relive all this once through a trial, they may have to relive this a second time,” District Attorney Frank Sedita said.

Basil was smiling in court as the decision was read, and his defense expressed happiness at the prospect of a second chance.

“I think that we will have a good, fair trial coming up, and I hope the right verdict will be reached,” Paul Cambria said.

There are no plans to charge the juror in question during the first trial with any crime.

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