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VENTURA | West Ventura County Focus

Exhibits Discussed as Haun Jurors Get Rest

September 11, 1997|TRACY WILSON

Jurors in the Diana Haun murder trial took a day off Wednesday as lawyers met outside their presence to discuss exhibits they want admitted during the trial.

The jury is scheduled to return this morning for a final day of testimony.

Half a dozen witnesses are expected to take the stand before the defense rests its case. Attorneys have not said whether Haun will be one of those witnesses.

After the conclusion of the defense case, prosecutors plan to call at least five more witnesses during a brief rebuttal case.

The jury is not expected to be in court Friday or Monday as attorneys meet with the judge to discuss what instructions should be given to guide jurors in their deliberations.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Tuesday.

During Wednesday's informal court hearing, defense attorneys sought to admit letters written by the defendant to her lover, Michael Dally, who is also charged in the May 6, 1996, kidnap-slaying of his wife, Sherri Dally.

Judge Frederick A. Jones ruled that some of the letters can be shown to the jury. The letters were written last fall while Haun was jailed on murder charges.

Defense attorneys also sought to admit newspaper articles, headlines and photographs published in May and June of last year that focused on the investigation into Sherri Dally's disappearance, and later her death.

Deputy Public Defender Neil Quinn argued that the articles contained information that could have been used by an anonymous author in preparing a letter to The Times and other media organizations last year.

The typed letter suggested that British nationals were responsible for the disappearance of Dally and two other Ventura County women. Prosecutors allege Haun was the author.

Jones ruled that although the jury should be made aware that someone else could have authored the so-called "British letter," he refused to let the articles be admitted as evidence on the grounds that some contain erroneous information as well as details the jury has not learned about.

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