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Jury Selection Nears End in Denny Beating Case

August 12, 1993

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Twelve people, potential jurors for the trial of two black men accused in the beating of a white truck driver, waited today to learn if any of them would be challenged by attorneys.

The defense still had 14 challenges and the prosecution 10.

A new group of potential jurors filled out questionnaires tdoay and 54 survived hardship challenges.

It was unknown if lawyers would use their remaining challenges or how long the selection of alternates would take.

The tentative panel included five whites, four blacks, two Hispanics and one Asian. Nine were women. One is a black man.

″We’d like more,″ said defense attorney Karen Ackerson, adding that she also would like to see more young people on the jury to hear testimony in the case against her client, Henry K. Watson, 28, and co-defendant Damian M. Williams, 20.

″We want a balance,″ the lawyer said. ″Young people bring the experience of youth. They understand a little more what (Williams and Watson) have gone through.″

A jury will not be empaneled until six alternates also are chosen.

The defendants are charged with 12 counts of attempted murder, robbery, assault and mayhem for the April 29, 1992, beating of trucker Reginald Denny.

Co-defense counsel Wilma Shanks, who represents Williams, said younger jurors might not be so shocked about property damage and violence in the streets, and that they may understand the anger and emotion the day the riots began.

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