Judge declares mistrial in Buddhist temple killings - | WBTV Charlotte


Judge declares mistrial in Buddhist temple killings

Jonathan Doody (Source: Pool image) Jonathan Doody (Source: Pool image)
Judge Joseph Kreamer (Source: Pool image) Judge Joseph Kreamer (Source: Pool image)

A judge has declared a mistrial in the retrial of a man charged with killing nine people at a suburban Phoenix Buddhist temple in 1991.

After several stops and starts over seven days of deliberations, the jury in the Jonathan Doody trial came back at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and said they had reached an impasse. The judge declared a mistrial just after 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

The judge then brought the jury into the courtroom and thanked them for their service.

A third trial for Doody may start as early as mid-November. The new trial date will be set on Oct. 31.

Jurors told the judge last Wednesday they were at an impasse because one juror refuses to follow instructions.

"It's very evident given the events of the last several weeks that this jury is deadlocked," said Doody's defense attorney Maria Schaffer. 

There have been glimpses of what's going on with the jury through questions they've written to the judge. But the questions have not been about the case or legal issues, they've been more about complaints specifically about one juror who feels she's being disrespected and who the others believe is not following the rules. "

"It baffles me as to how it can be just so complicated," said Jonathan Doody's father, Brian, on Wednesday. "I don't understand it."

Doody's parents who have stood by his innocence for 22 years look at the real possibility of a mistrial as a positive development.

"Actually it's somewhat of a relief for us," Brian Doody said. "We're excited in one respect in that it's not a guilty verdict. So this is just one step closer to him coming home."

Last week, the jury told the judge there were issues in deliberations.

"After speaking with all of you I cannot give you additional direction on how to proceed," Judge Joseph Kreamer told the jury Thursday morning. "Please review and follow the instructions previously given and continue with your deliberations."

Kreamer spoke collectively to the jury in the Doody trial last Wednesday based on a note from the foreman saying one juror is no longer willing to deliberate and follow rules.

The foreperson in the Doody trial told Kreamer that one juror no longer wants to discuss her opinion on where she stands, and the jury is in need of guidance on how to proceed.

Kreamer addressed the full jury, and then met with the jury foreperson, followed by each juror individually.

A week ago, Kreamer said he saw three options: dismiss the juror in question, send the jurors back to deliberate or declare a mistrial. He chose to send the jury back to deliberations.

The jury received the case three weeks ago. Delays included time that included a week off for fall break, and because one juror had to be replaced.

Doody is accused of killing six monks, a nun and two helpers in a West Valley Buddhist temple when he was 17 years old.

His conviction was thrown out by an appeals court in 2011, saying he wasn't properly read his rights.

For updates on the trial, follow CBS 5 News reporter Donna Rossi on Twitter @drossiCBS5.

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