Judge Denies New Trial in Slaying of Canadian Major
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) _ A judge denied a new trial Friday in the claw hammer-killing of a Canadian military officer, even though two jurors had claimed they were coerced into a guilty verdict.
The judge also denied a defense motion asking to interview the jurors who convicted Air Force Master Sgt. Ralph Crompton in the Feb. 9 slaying of Canadian Forces Maj. David Turenne, 42.
``Persuasion is part of the process,″ Circuit Judge Glenn Hess said. ``Of course, it is equally true that coercion is not. However, based on the news reports _ juror interviews _ there is disagreement as to whether coercion occurred.″
Hess also noted that the 12 jurors were polled immediately after the Oct. 15 verdict and each affirmed agreement. He said the jurors ``were not cloistered″ and could have reported misconduct allegations through bailiffs, but didn’t do so.
Crompton, 41, claimed the killer was Monique Turenne _ his lover and Turenne’s wife. Mrs. Turenne returned home to Winnipeg, Canada, after the slaying. She still is a suspect, but authorities haven’t sought extradition.
A day after the verdict, two female jurors told Hess they had been coerced by the jury foreman into finding Crompton guilty. They refused to deliberate in the penalty phase of the trial. The foreman denied the allegations and threatened to sue the women unless they apologize.
Hess dismissed the jury and said a second panel would be selected to recommend Crompton’s sentence if he denied a new trial. Crompton, however, waived his right to a jury recommendation, and Hess set the sentencing for Nov. 15.
Defense lawyer John O’Brien said he will appeal the verdict on grounds of jury misconduct.