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Jury heads home for day in temple killings case

PHOENIX — Jurors in the retrial of a man charged with killing nine people
at a suburban Phoenix Buddhist temple concluded deliberations for the day on
Wednesday without reaching a verdict as the panel stalled over disagreements and
the judge pondered a mistrial.

Johnathan A. Doody, now 39, was just 17 when he was accused of participating in
the August 1991 slayings at the Wat Promkunaram temple.

He was found guilty in 1993 and sentenced to 281 years in prison, but an
appeals court threw out his conviction in 2011 after finding that investigators
improperly obtained a confession from him.

Doody’s retrial began Aug. 12. Jurors deliberated for less than a week before
one of them said it was too emotional for her to continue. Deliberations were
halted, and she was replaced with an alternate juror. The judge then instructed
the panel to begin anew Oct. 3.

The fresh jury has deliberated for seven days over two weeks, stalling several
times to complain to the judge that one member was refusing to participate. That
juror told Judge Joseph Kreamer that she had already made up her mind and felt
badgered by the others.

The judge instructed them to continue deliberating, but on Wednesday, the panel
indicated they were stuck.

“We have come to an `impasse’ due to the inability by one juror to adhere to
the juror instructions. This person uses feelings and not facts to make her
decisions,” the jury wrote in a letter to the judge. Jurors are referring to
the same woman they have repeatedly complained about.

“They’re deadlocked,” defense attorney Maria Schaffer told the judge in
arguing for a mistrial.

Prosecutor Jason Kalish asked Kreamer to provide the panel with additional
instructions.

“I’m leaning toward declaring a mistrial,” the judge replied. “That’s almost
certainly where we’re going.”

He said he would meet with attorneys Thursday morning to make a decision. The
jury also is set to return.

Prosecutors have already indicated that if a mistrial is declared, they would
seek to put Doody on trial for a third time.

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