Denny case judge decides he won't replace juror

October 15, 1993|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Tension among jurors in the Reginald O. Denny beating trial was revealed in sharper detail yesterday as Superior Court Judge John W. Ouderkirk unsealed transcripts of closed hearings in which several jurors complained about the "twilight-zone" mental state of a juror dismissed earlier this week and explained another juror's anger at being sequestered.

Judge Ouderkirk refused to dismiss that panelist for alleged misconduct, and deliberations continued as attorneys and the the news media pored over the transcripts for clues to the jury's status and state of mind.

One juror said Juror 104, upset at being sequestered, ran through a corridor of the panel's hotel, screaming: " 'I can't take it any more.' She was cussing and saying . . . she just wants to go home" to her boyfriend.

Judge Ouderkirk said that juror's problem had been corrected ++ with increased phone time and family visits.

Jurors also complained about Juror 373, who was dismissed.

"We have all been trying to figure out exactly what is going on in her mind," said the jury forewoman, who is black. "So I really don't know . . . if she is pondering or way off in the twilight zone. I am not trying to be facetious or sarcastic. I just don't think she is all up there."

A defense attorney was incensed that Judge Ouderkirk had dismissed Juror 373, a black woman, Monday for failing to deliberate, yet denied his motion yesterday to remove Juror 104 -- the white woman fellow jurors said repeatedly interrupted deliberations, saying said she would settle for a hung jury so she could go home.

"This case is in shambles," said Attorney Edi M. O. Faal, who represents defendant Damian Monroe Williams. Juror 373 was "thrown out on the flimsiest of grounds," he said.

He requested a mistrial Thursday, based on a letter from Juror 373 to the judge after she was dismissed, saying she suspected that certain jurors were predisposed to "a specific determination irrespective as to the facts of the case." Judge Ouderkirk denied that motion.

Deputy District Attorney Janet Moore said the jury was "working very hard to return a just verdict." She said the circumstances affecting Jurors 373 and 104 are "worlds apart factually."

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