Diop voted to find Thomas not guilty of shooting Abdoul Toure, 24, in 2008
Juror Katheryne Diop, 21, visited since-convicted murderer Devon Thomas, 28, more than 30 times in jail
Supported him in court at his second trial, sparking probe into the possibly justice-stalling relationship.
“She visits him [in jail] more often than his own family . . . He’s a very charismatic guy,” – source
A love-struck juror who was so charmed by a killer that she orchestrated a hung jury to set him free, and then dated him after trial, may now face seven years in jail for asserting her innocence to a probation officer.
Katherine Diop was scheduled for sentencing Monday for lying to a Bronx judge about her arrest record during jury selection for the first trial of killer Devon Thomas, but after taking the deal she allegedly told her probation officer she hadn’t “actually” been arrested.
Bronx Judge Linda Poust-Lopez questioned the lovelorn woman during court Monday about her contradictory statements.
“It doesn’t sound to me that you think you lied if you didn’t actually think you were arrested,” the judge argued.
Diop told the judge she had been confused about whether or not going to jail and being arrested were the “same thing.”
Photo: Robert KalfusDevon Thomas, allegedly ochestrated mistrial with the help of Diop, but convicted at second trial. Serving 25 year sentence
The January plea deal had downgraded Diop’s perjury charge from first degree to third degree, offering three years probation in exchange for an admission of her guilt.
“I’m not sure that this promised sentence is going to apply,” the peeved Judge threatened Monday, saying she’d need to review the minutes.
“I believe she is being honest and I ask that you honor the promised sentence,” Diop’s defense attorney Bess Stiffelman said, addressing the judge.
“I’m not comfortable with that,” Poust-Lopez shot back.
Diop was the holdout juror in Thomas’ first trial. He was later convicted of manslaughter at retrial.
It was subsequently discovered that the two were involved and she had visited him in jail over 30 times during the trial and even sat in on his eventual conviction for the shooting of aspiring basketball player Abdoul Toure in the Bronx in 2008.
Diop will learn her fate when she returns to court on March 22.
Photo: Robert Kalfus
Abdoul Toure, promising basketball player shot by Devin ThomasDiop voted to find Thomas not guilty of shooting aspiring basketball player Abdoul Toure, 24, in The Bronx in 2008 — prompting a mistrial last June.
She then began to visit Thomas at Rikers Island, where the two exchanged intimate banter and chatted in recorded phone conversations while he awaited a second trial, sources said.
The victim’s mother, Aissata Diane, claims the former juror grew smitten with Thomas’ bad-boy persona in court and tried to get other jurors to acquit him.
“He tried to start a relationship with her during the first trial for his own benefit,” Diane alleged. “She was hoping he could get off and [she could] start a relationship with him after he got out of jail.”
Thomas blew a kiss toward Diop and his family members after the guilty verdict.
Thomas would not grant an interview from Rikers. His attorney, Kyle Watters, said, “I can’t get involved in my clients’ social life. I’m just trying to get them out of jail.”
Photo: Robert Kalfus
YOU’RE WELCOME: Holdout juror Katheryne Diop now visits murderer Devon Thomas frequently at Rikers Island Jail
Diop, meanwhile, admitted to the many visits. She acknowledged that she had been questioned by investigators but maintained that she befriended the jailbird after the trial because she believed he was innocent.
“I’m not the reason for the hung jury or the mistrial. I had no relationship with Devon before or during the trial. That’s impossible. I could get in trouble for that,” she said.
A second jury on April 15 found Thomas guilty of first-degree manslaughter and possession of a handgun.
Judge James Kindler sentenced him to 25 years.
Diop showed up in court to support him, shocking the victim’s mom, who lashed out at her.
“She messed everything up in the first trial. That girl should be in jail!” Diane fumed.
“She put us through a whole new trial. It was devastating to us. We had to relive it all over again. It was like [our son] dying again.”
Toure, an African immigrant, was shot dead in the Highbridge section of The Bronx during a neighborhood fight on Halloween 2008.