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Md. Jury Hung in Ex-Candidate Trial

March 30, 1998

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) _ A jury deadlocked Monday in the trial of former U.S. Senate candidate Ruthann Aron on charges she plotted to have her husband and an attorney killed.

Circuit Judge Paul McGuckian declared a mistrial after jurors deliberated for nearly 30 hours over five days without reaching a verdict.

Ms. Aron, 55, could have been sentenced to up to 36 years in prison.

After the mistrial was declared, Ms. Aron told The Associated Press her lawyer had told her not to comment because of the pending retrial, for which no date has been set. But she did say she was grateful to be going home.

``I’m happy that the system worked and there are those who take it seriously,″ she told the AP.

The wealthy developer from Potomac, who ran for the Senate in 1994, was charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill Dr. Barry Aron and attorney Arthur Kahn, a longtime foe.

Ms. Aron’s lawyers argued that physical and sexual abuse by her father, combined with her deteriorating marriage, the humiliation of her election defeat and mild brain damage, led to mental illness that made her incapable of understanding her crime.

Prosecutors called doctors who testified she suffered from long-term, mild depression and a personality disorder but was capable of understanding her actions.

Ms. Aron’s husband had told her weeks earlier that he wanted to end their turbulent 32-year marriage, just as she was preparing to run for Montgomery County Council.

As for Kahn, Ms. Aron blamed him for her loss of a slander suit against former Sen. William Brock, who defeated her in Maryland’s Republican Senate primary in 1994. She had won the right to a new trial but failed to have Kahn’s damaging testimony about civil suits involving her former business partners excluded.

In secretly recorded conversations, Ms. Aron calmly negotiates the alleged murder-for-hire with an undercover police officer posing as a hit man.

On the morning of her arrest last June, she allegedly disguised herself with a trench coat, red wig and wide-brimmed hat and dropped off a $500 down payment for her husband’s murder, which she bargained down from $1,000. Then she played golf.

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