Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsVerdicts

Community News: South

USC : Judge Denies Request to Release Jury Data

June 18, 1995|TOM JENNINGS

A lawyer's request to release the names and addresses of jury members who convicted a man in the 1992 stabbing death of a USC student was denied last Thursday. The judge said he "was under no obligation" to release the information.

The lawyer for Lester W. Virgil, 30, asked to be given access to jury files because he believes there was misconduct during deliberations. Virgil is scheduled to be sentenced June 29. The jury recommended that Virgil receive the death penalty. Information about the jury was sealed after the conviction.

Virgil was convicted in March of killing Soy Song Lao, 21. She was stabbed 35 times in the chest as she worked a weekend afternoon shift at her sister's Gardena doughnut shop on El Segundo Boulevard.

Virgil, who is serving an eight-year sentence for an assault that occurred after the stabbing, was also convicted of robbing the doughnut shop of $60. His public defender, Michael Clark, said he wanted information about the jury so he could contact them individually about possible misconduct.

But Compton Superior Court Judge Steven Suzukawa said there is no precedent that requires him to grant the request. He refused to unseal the names of 12 jurors who were present for the hearing, but did give Clark the phone numbers of four others who did not attend the court session.

After Thursday's hearing, the jury was called back into court to report a threat made by a relative of Virgil in the hallway outside the courtroom. The woman told jurors outside court that "we're going to get a bunch of gangbangers to shoot you all." The court made the comment part of the official record on the case.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|