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Korean Merchant Convicted of Manslaughter in Shooting of Black Teen- ager

October 11, 1991

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A Korean shopkeeper was convicted of voluntary manslaughter Friday in the shooting death a black teen-ager she suspected of shoplifting a $1.79 bottle of orange juice.

The March 16 killing of Latasha Harlins by storekeeper Soon Da Ju and other violent incidents inflamed tensions between black residents and Korean merchants in economically depressed South Central Los Angeles.

Mrs. Du faces a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison. If she had been convicted of second-degree murder, she could have been sentenced to life in prison.

Superior Court Judge Joyce Karlins agreed to let Mrs. Du remain free on bail until her sentencing, set for Nov. 15.

The courtroom was silent as the verdicts were read after a brief misstart when the jury failed to fill out the verdict form finding Mrs. Du innocent on the second-degree murder charge. The judge sent the panel back to the jury room to complete the form.

Mrs. Du, who had been emotional throughout the trial, showed no immediate reaction.

Spectators, who included members of the Du and Harlins families, gasped when the second-degree murder verdict was announced. They had been warned by deputies guarding the courtroom they would be ousted if there were any outbursts.

″She got away with murder 3/8″ one of Miss Harlins’ relatives yelled as she left the courtroom in tears. Another woman family member shouted, ″This system let her get away with coldblooded murder.″

The Du family left the courtroom without speaking.

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