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O.C. jury at impasse over death sentence

August 01, 2007|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

An Orange County jury deadlocked Tuesday on whether a white supremacist gang member should die for killing one of the organization's founders in retaliation for giving away some of its secrets on a local television news program.

On the third day of deliberations, six jurors voted in favor of the death penalty for Michael Lamb, five opted for life in prison without parole, and one was undecided.

Lamb and co-defendant Jacob Rump were convicted last month of murdering Scott Miller in March 2002 for the benefit of Public Enemy Number One, a Southern California gang that openly promotes white power.

Miller, 38, was killed about a year after he appeared on Fox News in Los Angeles. He thought he was disguised, but his tattoos were visible in some shots, and his pit bull was recognizable in others.

Lamb, 33, and Rump, 31, both of Huntington Beach, also were convicted of trying to kill an undercover police officer who was on their trail three days after Miller was found dead in an Anaheim alley with a single gunshot wound to the back of his head.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Ebrahim Baytieh has until Aug. 21 to decide whether to seek another death penalty hearing for Lamb, the alleged triggerman in both shootings. Baytieh could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Marlin Stapleton, one of Lamb's attorneys, said that in discussions with jurors afterward, many cited lingering doubt about whether Lamb or someone else had shot Miller.

Rump faces a term of life in prison without parole at his Aug. 31 sentencing.

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