RACINE, Wis. - The judge on Thursday, Sept. 24 revealed what caused an unexpected adjournment Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing Racine Police Officer John Hetland. A juror assigned to the Dalquavis Ward trial was excused after coming in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
The defense moved for a mistrial, arguing the trial should not be happening during a pandemic, but the judge decided to proceed, and it was a crucial day in court.
"It's the anxiety of the unknown that I think is going to interfere with Mr. Ward's due process the most," said Charles Glynn, Ward's attorney.
Ward's attorney was fired up after it was revealed a juror came in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
"The juror called her doctor and was told she should quarantine," said Judge Timothy Boyle.
Judge Boyle said the juror was excused and took a COVID-19 test.
"The juror received the results this morning, and she was negative for COVID-19," said Judge Boyle. "Our health department advised that we may resume the proceedings."
Ward's defense then moved for a mistrial.
"I think we've got a big problem," said Glynn. "I think the solution to it is to declare a mistrial."
Judge Timothy Boyle
"With your respect to declare a mistrial, I am not going to do that," said Judge Boyle.
With that, the state called to the stand Lisa Treffinger with the Wisconsin State Crime Lab.
"I'm assigned to the DNA Analysis Unit," said Treffinger.
Surveillance shows Officer Hetland in a struggle with a masked robber just before he was shot and killed at Teezers Bar in June 2019. Treffinger said DNA was collected from Hetland's body, clothing and other locations. She said what was gathered led to a verified match to another man in a database.
"Who did the CODIS database indicate was the individual who appeared to be consistent in the DNA collected in the ways we talked about?" asked Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley.
"The name listed on the report was Dalquavis Ward," said Treffinger.