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ANAHEIM : Kidnaper to Be Tried 3rd Time in Slaying

November 19, 1994|SUSAN MARQUEZ OWEN

Despite two hung juries in the trials of an Anaheim man charged with murder in one of the county's first fatal carjackings, the district attorney's office will go forward with a third trial, a prosecutor said Friday.

"Why? Because he did it," said Deputy Dist. Atty. David Brent. "It was a bad murder."

Scott Rembert, 22, will return to court Dec. 2 for the setting of a new trial. Rembert was convicted of kidnaping last spring in connection with the June, 1992, slaying of Joseph Andrew Kondrath. But two juries have been unable to decide on a charge of murder and a special circumstance allegation that a robbery occurred. Conviction mandates a life sentence without parole.

In both trials, the majority of jurors wanted to convict Rembert of murder, but failed to reach a unanimous decision, Brent said.

Rembert's attorney, Ed Freeman, said the jurors have been unable to decide in favor of a murder conviction because Rembert is innocent. The most Rembert can be blamed for, he said, was being in bad company. The attorney said he will try to have the case dismissed at the Dec. 2 hearing in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.

"They've already had two bites at him." Freeman said.

Kondrath, a 23-year-old Rancho Santiago College student, was last seen leaving for his job at a supermarket at 4 a.m. on June 10, 1992. Prosecutors say he was grabbed from behind the wheel of his car at gunpoint in front of his Anaheim home and forced into the trunk. He was robbed of his wallet, which contained only about $1, and later shot in the head as he lay curled up in the trunk of his car pleading, "Don't hurt me," according to court records.

Rembert is one of three defendants convicted in connection with the slaying. Shaun Burney, 20, of Tustin was sentenced to death in September for his role as the triggerman, and Allen Dean Burnett II, 20, of Anaheim, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Brent said he believes he can present the case against Rembert this time in a way that will get a murder conviction, but declined further comment.

Freeman and his co-counsel, Tina del Rey, are ready to defend again, Freeman said.

"We know justice will be served," he said.

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