Aron jury sent home after deliberating 8 hours Panel's request for laws on insanity OK'd by judge

March 25, 1998|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,SUN STAFF

A clearly fatigued jury was sent home yesterday after deliberating for eight hours and failing to reach a verdict in Ruthann Aron's murder-for-hire trial.

The 10 women and two men will begin their work again this morning, as the trial enters its second month.

Aron, 55, is accused of hiring a hit man to kill her husband and a lawyer. Her defense team has admitted she is guilty of solicitation to commit murder, but contend mental illness prevented her from understanding right from wrong.

If the former businesswoman and U.S. Senate candidate is found responsible for her actions, she will go to prison. If found not criminally responsible she will be sent to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center for treatment.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Paul McGuckian yesterday fielded three queries from the jury.

The first asked for copies of the 3,729-page trial transcript. He denied the request because editing out conferences between the judge and lawyers would take too much time.

The judge approved a request for a copy of the state laws on insanity, including definitions of mental disorders.

Just before he sent the jury home at 6: 30 p.m., McGuckian rejected a request for a copy of the notes written by doctors evaluating Aron at Perkins. Some were stream-of-consciousness jottings and others editorial coments.

As he waited for the jury to enter the courtroom yesterday, McGuckian chuckled as he looked at his calendar. He said that he would be at Perkins on Friday for a one-day seminar on trying a case with a mentally ill defendant.

"I guess I'm going to get there before she does," he mused.

Pub Date: 3/25/98

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