Jury Dismissed Before Penalty Phase in Officer Slaying Trial
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) _ The jury that convicted a retired Air Force sergeant of murder in the hammer-death of a Canadian military officer was dismissed Thursday from the penalty phase after two jurors said the foreman forced them to return a guilty verdict.
Circuit Judge Glenn Hess said a new jury would be selected to recommend whether Ralph Crompton should die or get a life sentence for the Feb. 9 slaying of Canadian Forces Maj. David Turenne, 42.
Crompton, 41, claimed Monique Turenne _ his lover and Turenne’s wife _ killed her husband with blows from a claw hammer during a confrontation in the yard of the Turenne home near Tyndall Air Force Base.
Mrs. Turenne returned home to Winnipeg, Canada, after the slaying. She still is a suspect in the case, but authorities haven’t sought extradition.
Two female jurors say the foreman pressured, intimidated and browbeat them into finding Crompton guilty Tuesday even though they believed he was innocent, defense lawyer Waylon Graham said.
The two jurors declined to comment and Hess offered no explanation in court. Graham, however, said the jurors did not want to resume deliberations over Crompton’s penalty ``because they had been mistreated the other night.″
They also wanted to tell the judge of their views before the verdict, Graham said.
``They had attempted to inform the judge on three different occasions that they’d hung, and the foreman refused to go to the judge and tell him that,″ he said. ``They felt the only way out of the room was to accede to the foreman’s pressure. ... They felt as if they were hostages.″
Defense motions for a new trial and permission to interview the eight women and four men of the jury are pending before Hess, who did not say when he might rule.