Watch CBS News

Jury Tells Phila. Judge It Is Stuck As It Deliberates Murder/Arson Retrial

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The jury deliberating whether Daniel Dougherty deliberately set the fire that killed his two sons in 1985 has told the judge that it was deadlocked, in the third full day of talking it over.

The panel got back to work, after submitting the note, and it will resume deliberations Wednesday morning in the murder and arson retrial.

Some courtroom observers remember an incident in the first day of talking it over, when there was a problem from the get-go. The court crier didn't even get his foot in the door when the foreman alerted him that "there was an issue with a juror."

The latest note reads "we are stuck and there is no movement." Judge Scott O'Keefe brought jurors into the courtroom and asked if he could provide additional clarification or instructions. The foreman replied "no." The judge then asked "is there a reasonable probability of the jury reaching a unanimous verdict?" The foreman replied forcefully and with a shake of his head "no."

Judge O'Keefe then gave jurors, in legal parlance, the "Spencer Charge." He asked jurors to keep trying, reconsider positions, without violating individual judgments, and report back if they reach a decision on any of the charges.

So far, jurors' questions centered mostly on the testimony of the only witness the defense called, a nationally recognized forensic scientist. That expert testified the cause of the rowhome fire should have been "undetermined."

A former Philadelphia fire marshall retained by the DA's office confirmed the original finding, that it was an arson.

The 56-year old Dougherty was convicted by another jury and sentenced to death in 2000, but an appeals court granted him a new trial because of ineffective defense counsel at his original trial.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.