MIAMI(CBSMiami) — A juror in a DUI manslaughter trial of a Miami Heat dancer, never realized he’d become the focus in the wake of the high-profile case.
“I wasn’t saying gay remarks it’s a nightmare,” said Juror Norman Sikes.
After Mario Careaga was convicted for running down and killing heat dancer Nancy Lopez Ruiz, a dismissed alternate juror accused Sikes of making disparaging remarks about Careaga who is gay, using it as grounds for a mistrial.
His attorney called for a mistrial over allegations of juror misconduct.
Answering accusations he made fun of the way Careaga asked for a glass of water, Sikes says, “At that point I was clearing my throat.”
“I have problems keeping my mouth shut. I say what is on my mind. You know and sometimes it gets me in trouble but you know, it is what it is. You know, that’s me,” said Sikes.
Sikes bigger problem now is being unemployed. He says while serving on the jury his boss called him in.
“He said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this but I can’t afford you anymore. I’m financially up to my throat,’” said Sikes. “One of the alternates said that I said that this whole thing sucks. When the defense attorney was drilling me I said,’Yea, I did say that. It does suck. I lost my job during all this.'”
He is now trying to find work as a crane operator. Sikes says he spent 23 years building custom trailers, but being out of work hits his family hard.
“It’s ruined our lives. This trial has ruined our lives,” said Sikes wife, Anna Marie Sikes.
“If it wasn’t for income tax money, we would definitely not be able to support ourselves at all,” said his daughter Samantha Sikes.
Sikes is mystified why it happened.
“He’s guilty so the defense is going to come back on anything they can,” said Sikes.
He finds it humorous that the alternate juror made a disparaging remark about him.
Sikes is now on the job hunt and anxious about that situation but confident that he and the rest of the jury reached in the DUI manslaughter trial.
We kept coming back to the blood alcohol level. Triple the limit. The bloodwork doesn’t lie.”
Careaga is in jail awaiting sentencing in May.
His attorney says he will ask for the minimum sentence of four years and is appealing the guilty verdict.