Jurors in the Steven DeMocker case, which recently ended in mistrial, applauded Tuesday afternoon when Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Thomas B. Lindberg walked into the courtroom for an informal meeting between attorneys and jurors.
"I never imagined the kind of issues and time serving on this jury would place on you," Lindberg said as he thanked the jurors for their service. "I couldn't be prouder of you in terms of your service, folks. We got the best."
Lindberg said he did not want to distract anyone when he suddenly took ill in June, saying a dizzy spell resulted in a seizure, and when doctors examined him they found the malignant brain tumor.
Renee Cameron, a former juror, said when Lindberg collapsed she was concerned and surprised.
"When Judge Brutinel came out to tell us what happened, it was surreal," said Cameron, who said the situation made her physically ill.
Lindberg apologized for any difficulty that his medical condition caused jurors.
"We're glad Lindberg's health is getting better," said former juror Dan Main.
"My family and myself were just overwhelmed by the tsunami of support we received," said Lindberg, who has undergone surgery and chemotherapy to treat the tumor. "That's why I live here in Yavapai County and that's why I love it here."
Lindberg said he is still going through chemo and his doctors are considering more surgery.
Hans Sommer echoed other jurors' comments when he said, "I hope he gets better."
Yavapai Superior Court Judge Warren R. Darrow said he asked the jurors there to personally thank them for their service and the time they devoted to the trial, because he didn't want their last contact to be from an e-mail letting them know they were dismissed.
"Our appreciation is sincere. This system doesn't work unless people are willing to serve when called," Darrow said.
While he couldn't say much about the case because it will be retried, Darrow let the jurors know they could speak to attorneys and the media about it now if they desired.
DeMocker, 56, remains in jail on a $2 million bond on charges of first-degree murder in the July 2, 2008, beating death of his former wife, Carol Kennedy, 53, whose body was found inside her Williamson Valley home.
The jurors asked to have a picture taken with Lindberg and Darrow back in the jury room where they'd spent so much time.
Afterward, media waited outside while the jurors spoke with attorneys. As jurors came out, some spoke about their experience.
Sommer said fellow jury members became like family.
"I enjoyed this experience," Kathryn Bell said about serving on the jury even as she noted how long the trial went on.
Liz Dawson said jurors spent about half their time in the jury room and they formed close bonds.
"We have all maintained a good sense of humor throughout the trial. It's not that we took our duty lightly, we took it seriously," said former juror Rosalie Younker.
Main said one day he and three other jurors stayed an hour after the others left to work on a puzzle in the jury room.
After the meeting Tuesday, jurors said they were heading over to Prescott Brewing Company together.