Following a full day of deliberation Monday, the Del Norte Superior County jury in the case of People vs. David Ken Lee had not reached a unanimous vote. Lee is accused of raping a woman in concert with two other men, and rape by force, fear or intimidation in January 2015.
While waiting for the jury to return Monday afternoon, Lee kept his head down, hidden by his arms.
An alternate was added to the jury Monday morning when it was learned that one of the jurors was unable to attend, due to a motor vehicle accident.
At 4:20 p.m., Judge Darren McElfresh read a note from the jury spokesperson saying they were unable to come to a unanimous decision and no further deliberation was necessary. The jury was brought back into the courtroom so the judge could ask if more deliberation would be helpful.
With the jury seated in the courtroom, McElfresh asked the jury spokesman to disclose the number of votes, without disclosing the direction of their verdict.
“It’s 11 to one,” the spokesman replied.
The jury was excused from the courtroom but during counsel discussion, a note from jurors was handed to the court bailiff, which read, “We’d like to take the night.”
The jury was excused until Tuesday morning.
An 11-1 vote would result in a hung jury, leading to a plea bargain, retrial or mistrial. In the event of a mistrial, the prosecution has the option to retry the case in Superior Court.
Another suspect in the same case, Wilson Lor, was first tried in May, 2016 but the jury could not reach a verdict. In a second trial the next month, Lor was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years to life in State Prison.
Reach Tony Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org .