The trial of Tevin Biles-Thomas, brother of Olympian Simone Biles’, ended with a mistrial on May 24. Biles-Thomas was on trial for a New Years’ Eve killing three men at a party in Cleveland, Ohio. A new trial is set to begin jury selection on May 26.
Delvante Johnson, 19, Toshaun Banks, 21, and Biles-Thomas’ cousin Devaughn Gibson, 23, were all killed in a shootout at the party back in 2018. Biles-Thomas was charged with voluntary manslaughter, several murder counts, felonious assault and perjury.
Judge Joan Synenberg declared a mistrial after jurors alerted the judge that they found legal brief copies from the defense and the prosecution in evidence they were given by the court to deliberate on.
At first, Synenberg told the jury to ignore what they saw in the legal briefs, such as the fact that Biles-Thomas may have committed the crime in self-defense to protect his cousin. Biles-Thomas’ attorney, Joe Patituce, and the prosecution had debated self-defense in the legal briefs. After asking the jury if the information influenced them, they all said yes.
According to prosecutors, Biles-Thomas, 26, overreacted and shot at Johnson after Johnson grabbed Gibson by the collar. Johnson then returned fire. In the end, Banks, Gibson and Johnson were all dead. Biles-Thomas was charged with all three deaths.
One of Biles-Thomas’ bullets hit Gibson in the shootout, but it was Johnson’s shot that killed Gibson. There is no physical evidence against Biles-Thomas. A witness who was shot in the arm said that they could not identify him as the one who shot them. Another witness who had made a deal with prosecutors to testify against Biles-Thomas said on the stand that he did not see him shooting. The witnesses also differed in their descriptions of the clothes worn by Biles-Thomas during the shootout.
Biles-Thomas, a soldier in the U.S. Army based in Georgia, was freed on a $1 million bond last December after serving three months in jail.