A jury was unable to decide Thursday whether a Van Nuys man should receive the death penalty for the robbery and murder in August, 1985, of a restaurant manager in Ventura County.
Prosecutors are expected to decide next week whether to seek the death penalty again by repeating the sentencing phase of the trial of Arthur Ankerstrom, 60, Ventura County Deputy Dist. Atty. Donald C. Glynn said.
Ankerstrom was convicted last month in the shooting death of George Timothy Murray, 30, who was shot in the back of the head with a .45-caliber automatic pistol that later was found in the trunk of Ankerstrom's car.
Five jurors voted for a death sentence and seven voted for the minimum penalty of life imprisonment without parole, Glynn said.
Murray's body was found in a walk-in refrigerator in the Deer Lodge Tavern & Restaurant in Meiners Oaks, near Ojai. His hands had been tied behind his back.
About $3,500 was taken from the restaurant and prosecutors disclosed in court that Ankerstrom subsequently deposited $3,000 in two bank accounts, Glynn said.
The Ventura County Superior Court jury also convicted Ankerstrom of a robbery earlier that August at Lowell's Town and Country Cocktail Lounge in Ventura.
Glynn said if the district attorney's office does not opt to repeat the sentencing phase of the trial, Ankerstrom would receive life in prison without parole.