A Torrance jury has deadlocked in the trial of a 20-year-old male baby sitter charged with seven counts of sexually assaulting youngsters at a residential motel.
After the jury announced Monday that it was deadlocked, Superior Court Judge William C. Beverly Jr. ordered Timothy Paul Ricketts to return to court Aug. 25, when prosecutors will either request a new trial date or move that the charges be dismissed.
The chief deputy in the Los Angeles County district attorney's office in Torrance, Peter Berman, said a decision had not been reached on whether to retry the case.
The jury was deadlocked 8 to 4 for acquittal on six of the molestation counts and 7 to 5 for acquittal on the other. The jury also found Ricketts innocent of one count of lewd conduct.
Ricketts' co-defendant, 23-year-old Angela Dawn Darnell, also was found innocent of one count of lewd conduct--the only count against her.
Outside the courtroom, defense attorney William MacCabe said that he doubts that prosecutors will retry Ricketts because of the likelihood of a second hung jury. Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Paine, who tried the case, could not be reached for comment.
Last year, a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case of Michael Ruby, a former playground aide at the Manhattan Ranch Preschool, who had been charged with 11 counts of child molestation.
The charges were dismissed after the victims' parents told prosecutors that they did not want their children to testify in a second trial.
Ricketts and Darnell were arrested in December, 1984, on child molestation charges allegedly involving children at the Coco Palms Motel apartments on Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance. All the alleged molestations occurred in 1984 at the motel, where the children lived with their parents, prosecutors contended.
Last week, Beverly dismissed five counts of child molestation that had been filed against Darnell and seven additional counts against Ricketts after three of the four alleged victims either recanted their earlier testimony or said they could not recall being sexually molested. Another count naming both Ricketts and Darnell as defendants also was dismissed.
A third co-defendant in the case, Robert H. Winkler, died last November of an accidental drug overdose.