Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Petro America CEO Owen Hawkins wants a new trial, claims juror misconduct

Posted By on Tue, May 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM

A juror might have tailored this suit worn by Hawkins
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  • A juror might have tailored this suit worn by Hawkins

Isreal Owen Hawkins wants a new trial because one of the jurors who helped convict him in the Petro America case apparently tailored his suits.

Hawkins, who is out on bond and faces 79 years in federal prison for running the Petro America racket, claims in a post-conviction court filing that one of the jurors was a Halls Department Store employee who once did alterations on his suits between 2008 and 2010.

But Hawkins, who represented himself during the Petro America trial because he didn't want a court-appointed attorney, didn't realize until after the month-long trial that he had been facing the person who had allegedly tailored the suits he paid for with cash.

It's always hard to predict how a judge will rule, but Hawkins has not fared well so far with his own defense.

A jury took about a day to decide he was guilty of representing that he was in charge of a $284 billion Kansas City natural resources company, which prosecutors said was the vehicle for an affinity scam. The trial was marked by frequent interruptions from the judge, who had to remind him of various courtroom rules.

Hawkins is out on bond while he awaits sentencing, or less likely, a new trial.

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