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Bid for mistrial denied

A hard-of-hearing juror wasn’t enough to win a mistrial for Nelson Ronald Brady Jr., who was convicted of trying to hire a hit man to kill three witnesses in a murder case against former bodybuilders Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan.

District Judge Douglas Herndon denied the request for a mistrial, which sprang from allegations that a juror wearing electronic headphones overheard private conversations between Brady and defense attorney Michael Schwarz during the February trial.

Herndon said he didn’t believe juror Paul Swaim used overheard information in finding Brady guilty. Herndon also said there was overwhelming evidence pointing to Brady’s guilt throughout the trial, including witness testimony and taped conversations between Brady and others.

Swaim accidentally eavesdropped on the conversations because he was wearing court-supplied headphones to hear better during the trial. Schwarz said the juror committed misconduct.

Brady is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 19.

Schwarz said Thursday he is considering asking the Nevada Supreme Court to instruct Herndon to grant the mistrial.

Clark County prosecutor Josh Tomsheck said Herndon’s ruling was fair.

"I don’t think there was ever jury misconduct," Tomsheck said.

Swaim testified Thursday that he overheard conversations between Schwarz and Brady but did not recall the exact details of what was said. Swaim called what he did hear "nothing exciting."

Swaim also said he did not tell other jurors what he heard and did not think it led him to find Brady guilty.

"I listened to the evidence presented and thought it reasonable," he said.

A jury convicted Brady of three counts of solicitation to commit murder.

Brady and Titus first met while serving time at the Clark County Detention Center. Brady was described as a star-struck fan of the couple.

Former bodybuilding champions Titus and Ryan were arrested for killing their personal assistant, Melissa James, in December 2005.

James’ charred body was found in a torched jaguar in the desert near Blue Diamond Road.

Titus pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and arson on May 30. Ryan pleaded guilty to arson and battery with a deadly weapon with substantial bodily harm. They are scheduled to be sentenced on July 18.

Contact reporter David Kihara at dkihara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

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