LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A $45.3 million whistleblowers' verdict against Lockheed Corp. was overturned because one juror failed to admit he had been convicted of a felony nearly three decades ago.

Superior Court Judge Harvey Schneider ruled the verdict invalid Tuesday because Tresavan Owens checked ''no'' on a questionnaire that asked whether he had ever been convicted of a felony. Owens pleaded guilty in 1962 to burglary in Lauderdale County, Miss.

''Since Owens' vote was crucial to certain of the verdicts ... it is clear those verdicts cannot stand and that Lockheed is entitled to a new trial,'' the judge ruled.

The jury in November awarded $45.3 million to three former Lockheed employees who claimed they were fired for pointing out flaws in the giant C-5B cargo plane.

Clyde W. Jones Jr., Terrence F. Schielke and Thomas E. Benecke were dismissed in 1985 after they wrote letters to Lockheed's second highest- ranking official demanding that the C-5B be grounded until tests could be performed.

Jones, 62, of Tennessee, Schielke, 40, of Lancaster, Calif., and Benecke, 48, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., said they were concerned about deficiencies in the mainframe of the plane.