Sequestration is rare and extreme. Therefore it is unusual and inexplicable for the Jury to have been sequestered. This was a 5 year old murder case, it was not a major publicity case and held no chance of juror intimidation etc., and then to have the heating cut off!?
On January 20, 1991 the Jury retired to the L&K Motel in Ashland to deliberate the case. They returned to the Court the following day. On January 30, 1991 at approximately 4.50pm, the Jury were informed if a verdict was not reached within 10 minutes, they would be returned to the same motel and return to commence deliberations the next day. Within 10 minutes they reached a verdict!
It was later discovered that the motel had some maintenance troubles and as a consequence there was no heating in any of the rooms!
One juror made a comment to the effect of “I don’t care if he is guilty or not. I am not going back to that motel with no heat. I am going home to my family. I am going to vote to convict, and let the appeals Court figure it out. Upon hearing that, several jurors changed their vote and a verdict was reached!
In summary, the Trial Court essentially coerced a verdict from the Jury.
This worked to prejudice Matt further, as the Prosecutors closing remarks to the Jury was that if they made a mistake, the appellate Court would sort it all out!
Ohio revised code §2315.03 mandates Jury must be kept in a convenient place, and an unheated motel in January in Ohio cannot be considered convenient!