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franklin county times

Deliberations resume today in murder trial

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Feb. 10, 2001
Nearly six hours of deliberations Friday yielded no verdict in the murder trial of Mary Ann Adams and her brother, John Barrett, both charged in the 1998 death of Mary Ann Woolf.
The 12-members of the Lauderdale County Circuit Court jury remained secluded in the jury room from late afternoon, through dinner and until about 10 p.m. when it was decided they would spend another night sequestered in a local motel.
According to an announcement made in the courtroom, the jury will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. today.
Adams and Barrett are accused of killing Woolf, then staging a car accident to conceal the crime. Prosecutors allege the murder was carried out in order to collect money on a life insurance policy, which named Adams as beneficiary and carried a double indemnity for accidental death.
On Thursday, Adams had invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify in her own defense.
During court action Friday, Barrett took the stand to offer testimony about his whereabouts the day of Woolf's death.
But, prior to his testimony, the defense called a Barrett friend, Michael Sharp. Sharp testified Barrett asked to borrow his truck for a fishing trip on the weekend Woolf's body was discovered in a shallow creek off Hookston Road. He said that after he found out about Woolf's death he asked Barrett if he "killed that woman."
Barrett testified he was fishing in Gainesville, Ala., the day of Woolf's disappearance. He also told jurors he had seen Woolf before noon on the day she became missing, and said three law enforcement officers who earlier testified that Barrett denied knowing Woolf had apparently lied during their testimony.
There was other action in the courtroom as well.
Shortly before jurors got the case, a spectator stood up and shouted, "Mary Ann Adams is guilty! John Barrett is guilty! They killed that woman!" Circuit Judge Larry Roberts ordered the man removed and sentenced him to 24 hours in jail.
Following the outburst, defense attorney Charles Wright requested a motion for a mistrial, but Roberts denied the motion.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.