Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mistrial declared in 1971 gay murder trial; Jurors deadlock about degree of charges

Is this the Twinkie defense all over again?

"Another problem with this 38-year-old case was that jury instructions from 1971 had to be read to this jury because that was the law then. This allowed Lamb to argue for “diminished capacity,” which is a defense that was changed by the state legislature after the 1978 assassinations of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in San Francisco. Former supervisor Dan White claimed he ate junk food, notably twinkies, before he shot the two men to death, and his jury convicted him of two counts of voluntary manslaughter." reports:
A mistrial was declared on Dec. 22 in the murder trial of a 62-year-old Texas man who admitted killing a gay man in 1971 in the victim’s Pacific Beach apartment after jurors deadlocked over whether he was guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Eight jurors agreed with the prosecution that Gerald Metcalf (pictured) was guilty of first-degree murder, while four held with the defense position that Metcalf was guilty of voluntary manslaughter due to his mental condition at the time. They deliberated 12 1/2 hours over three days, but on Tuesday they told San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Frazier they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Metcalf’s lawyer, David Lamb, conceded that Metcalf killed Gerald Jackson, 27, on Dec. 29, 1971, after Jackson picked up Metcalf, who was then 24 years old, at a seedy cruising area in downtown San Diego. Jackson was stabbed 61 times and his nude body was found days later in his apartment by two friends after he had not shown up for work at the post office.