Jurors continue deliberating in shooting of officer

April 26, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

Jurors hearing the case of a Baltimore man charged with trying to kill a city police officer twice informed the judge yesterday that they couldn't reach a verdict, but the judge told them to continue deliberating.

The jury of eight women and four men has deliberated for nearly eight hours and is scheduled to reconvene Monday. Judges are participating in a judicial conference today.

Jurors are deciding the fate of Donnell A. Ward, 27, who prosecutors say shot Baltimore Officer Willie D. Grandy in the left leg and Roy Hopkins, 17, in the buttock March 26 last year.

Prosecutors say Grandy and his partner had Hopkins in handcuffs when a man came around an East Baltimore street corner with a handgun under a bandanna and fired seven shots. Ward faces numerous charges, including the attempted murder of Grandy, Hopkins and a second detective, Michael Coleman.

Jurors heard testimony for nearly four days before getting the case late Wednesday. They told Circuit Judge Allen L. Schwait that they were deadlocked about 11 a.m. yesterday, then again about 4 p.m. Schwait gave jurors the option of deliberating for another hour yesterday afternoon or returning Monday.

Four jurors voted to continue debating the case for an hour, and four said they wanted to take a weekend break. Several looked agitated over the judge's refusal to declare a mistrial and didn't raise their hands for either option.

Assistant State's Attorney James Wallner, who is trying the case, and Ward's attorney, Brian G. Thompson, said they were glad Schwait didn't declare a mistrial.

"I thought I'd give them a chance to have the weekend off, and the lawyers wanted that," Schwait said during an interview outside the courtroom. "It's an important case, and we didn't want to give up on it that fast."

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