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San Diego County Digest

San Diego

June 03, 1986

Jury deliberations in the Sagon Penn murder trial were interrupted briefly Monday when a juror consulted a Superior Court judge over a private matter.

Judge William Todd assembled the jurors Monday afternoon to assure them that Vernell Hardy's absence from deliberations for several minutes was not related to the trial.

Deliberations in the three-month murder trial were recessed for one week in May when Hardy gave birth to a baby boy. The jury's lone guilty verdict against Penn--for assault with a deadly weapon--was overturned when Hardy informed Judge Ben W. Hamrick that she had second thoughts about the decision.

Hamrick is on vacation until Wednesday.

Penn is charged with murder in the March 31, 1985, shooting death of San Diego Police Agent Thomas Riggs and attempted murder in the shootings of Agent Donovan Jacobs and Sarah Pina-Ruiz, a civilian ride-along who accompanied Riggs. Also, Penn is charged with a third attempted murder charge for driving a police car over Jacobs as he fled the shooting scene, and two theft charges for taking Jacobs' police vehicle and Riggs' revolver.

The jury enters its eighth day of deliberations today.

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