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Trial nears impasse as jury splits

November 04, 2003

Darleene Barrientos

After reaching a decision on one count but declaring itself split on

several others, the jury deliberating the fate of two men accused of

killing a Hoover High School student were sent back to the jury room

Monday to continue working toward a verdict.

Jurors pondering the case of 21-year-old Karen Terteryan and

18-year-old Rafael Gevorgyan said they were confused by the wording

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of the law in several of the counts against the two defendants. The

jury told Judge Michael M. Johnson on Monday that it had reached a

unanimous verdict on one count, but was deadlocked 6-6 on several of

the remaining counts against the defendants.

Terteryan and Gevorgyan are charged with beating and stabbing

Hoover High student Raul Aguirre to death on May 5, 2000. Both

defendants also are charged with the attempted murder of Jimmy Orozco

-- a former co-worker of Aguirre's -- and street terrorism for

allegedly participating in a criminal street gang.

Except for the charge of murder against Terteryan, each of the

counts carries a special allegation of committing each crime for the

benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal

street gang with the specific intent to promote, further and assist

in criminal conduct by gang members, according to the criminal

complaint against the defendants. If convicted, both men could face

life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The case went to the jury Oct. 27.

The jury on Monday sent a note to the judge indicating it had

reached one verdict but needed advice about the rest of the counts

against the defendants.

Juror No. 3, representing the jury's eight women and four men,

said there was nothing further the court could provide to help the

jury with its deliberations, under questioning by Johnson.

Under further questioning, Juror No. 12 said there was confusion

about the law.

In open court, Deputy Dist. Atty. Darrell Mavis said the jury has

not been out long in relation to the length of the case and the

evidence presented.

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