(January 5, 2005 1:30 p.m.) The jury in the Richard Hamlin "torture" case has deliberated longer then any other in the memory of long time employees of the El Dorado County courthouse. At approximately 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 5, 2005 the dedicated jury returned to Judge Eddie T. Keller's historic courtroom to state that they had reached verdicts on nine of the eighteen felony counts former prosecutor and defense attorney Richard Hamlin is charged with by El Dorado County Prosecutor Gary Lacy.
With defense attorneys Richard Hamlin and Bob Banning present and deputy district attorney Vicki Ashworth and investigator Rich Strasser looking on, the jury announced that they were deadlocked on the remaining nine felony counts involving the issue of "great bodily injury". Earlier the jury had indicated that it was having trouble determining what constituted "great bodily injury". Judge Keller instructed them that this was a question of fact to be determined by the jury and that they should use their own common sense in reaching their conclusions.
During the long deliberations the jury had asked to have key pieces of evidence such as a large sword and a taser gun brought to the jury room. They also asked to see a video made by Richard Hamlin during which Hamlin said of his wife, "I just slapped the bitch".
These requests were the only indications of what the jury was discussing. As in any major case such requests led to great speculation among spectators and reporters as to which way the jury was leaning.
The speculation did not abate with today's announcement. The jury indicated that they were deadlocked 7 to 5 on five charges, 6 to 6 on one charge, 10 to 2 on two charges and 9 to 3 on the remaining charge. The jury has reached decisions on the other nine counts but their verdicts were not announced. Judge Keller told them to return to the jury room for further deliberations.
The saga of Richard and Susan Hamlin is not yet over and interest continues to grow about the outcome of this fascinating case.
Virginia McCullough © 1/5/05