Johnathan Doody update: Jury heads home for day in temple killings case

PHOENIX - Jurors in the retrial of a man charged with killing nine people at a suburban Phoenix Buddhist temple concluded deliberations for the day on Wednesday without reaching a verdict as the panel stalled over disagreements and the judge pondered a mistrial.

Johnathan A. Doody, now 39, was just 17 when he was accused of participating in the August 1991 slayings at the Wat Promkunaram temple.

He was found guilty in 1993 and sentenced to 281 years in prison, but an appeals court threw out his conviction in 2011 after finding that investigators improperly obtained a confession from him.

Doody's retrial began Aug. 12. Jurors deliberated for less than a week before one of them said it was too emotional for her to continue. Deliberations were halted, and she was replaced with an alternate juror. The judge then instructed the panel to begin anew Oct. 3.

The fresh jury has deliberated for seven days over two weeks, stalling several times to complain to the judge that one member was refusing to participate. That juror told Judge Joseph Kreamer that she had already made up her mind and felt badgered by the others.

The judge instructed them to continue deliberating, but on Wednesday, the panel indicated they were stuck.

"We have come to an `impasse' due to the inability by one juror to adhere to the juror instructions. This person uses feelings and not facts to make her decisions," the jury wrote in a letter to the judge. Jurors are referring to the same woman they have repeatedly complained about.

"They're deadlocked," defense attorney Maria Schaffer told the judge in arguing for a mistrial.

Prosecutor Jason Kalish asked Kreamer to provide the panel with additional instructions.

"I'm leaning toward declaring a mistrial," the judge replied. "That's almost certainly where we're going."

He said he would meet with attorneys Thursday morning to make a decision. The jury also is set to return.

Over the past 22 years, Doody's parents have stood by their son's innocence. While they are confused as to why a verdict is taking so long, they said they were relieved the jury did not reach a guilty verdict. They also told the media that their son predicted all of this would happen.

"He's told me from the beginning it's either going to be a hung jury or not guilty and he was right. So I think it was something he was kind of expecting all along. We're looking at this third trial as just another step to him coming home. We're really hoping for it," said Johnathan's Dad, Brian Doody.

Prosecutors have already indicated that if a mistrial is declared, they would seek to put Doody on trial for a third time.

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