Trial begins in death of juror who died outside courthouse

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Spokane County jurors are hearing the case of a man who died of hypothermia outside the county courthouse after reporting for jury duty.

KXLY-TV reports the trial began Monday nearly 10 years after 84-year-old Kay Mita was found covered in snow near the courthouse steps.

His family sued Spokane County and a guard company for negligence in 2010. A judge dismissed the claims, ruling the county and Guardsmark did not owe Mita a duty of care.

In 2014, a state appeals court reversed the decision and reinstated the claims.

Kay Mita reported for jury duty on Nov. 26, 2007. When he didn’t return to the courtroom after lunch and didn’t make it home, his family called the Spokane Criminal Reporting Center, a non-emergency line, for help.

Floyd Mita, Kay Mita’s son, alleges the county was negligent in the way it handled the missing person report.