YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Foreman Tells Judge Penn Jury May Deliberate 2 More Weeks

June 19, 1986

The jury foreman in the Sagon Penn murder trial told the judge Wednesday that jurors needed "a week or two more" in deliberations before reaching verdicts, but the jurors rebuffed the judge's suggestion that they meet on Saturday to make up for lost time.

The comment by foreman Douglas Bernd came as the jury finished their 21st day discussing the March 31, 1985, shootings that left a police officer dead and two people wounded.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Ben Hamrick asked the foreman "are you making progress?" after calling the jurors in at the end of the day Wednesday.

"Yes. Slow but sure," said Bernd.

"Can you give us an estimate of how much more you'll be?" Hamrick queried.

"A week or two more," said the foreman.

"You think it will take that long?" asked a surprised Hamrick.

"Yes, to be fair," Bernd answered.

Neither Penn nor the attorneys in the case were present for the foreman's estimate. Hamrick appeared stunned after the jury left.

"I don't know what to make of that," the judge said to reporters.

Jurors will resume deliberations at 1:30 p.m. today because juror Lynn Decker wanted to attend his son's graduation ceremony in the morning.

On Tuesday, the judge suggested to the jurors that they could meet on Saturday if they wished to make up for the short day Thursday and the half day they lost Tuesday when a juror had an afternoon doctor's appointment.

Just before excusing jurors for lunch Wednesday, Hamrick asked them if they considered meeting on Saturday. There was a pause and several jurors laughed as Bernd said, "We did, and we discovered that most people have . . . "

"That's understandable," Hamrick said, without waiting for the full answer. "I don't want to put any pressure on you."

Penn, 24, is charged with the murder of Police Agent Thomas Riggs; attempted murder of Agent Donovan Jacobs and of civilian observer Sarah Pina-Ruiz, 33; assault with a deadly weapon upon Jacobs by running over him with a car; grand theft of a firearm, and auto theft.

Los Angeles Times Articles