One of the jurors, Lorraine Maxwell, said in a sworn statement filed in federal court that there was "no way" she would have convicted Bruce Lisker, now 39, of murdering his 66-year-old mother in her ranch-style Sherman Oaks home March 10, 1983.
"I am saddened, as well as angered, that the evidence was not presented to the jury," Maxwell said. Lisker's lawyers submitted her declaration Monday in connection with a habeas corpus petition they have filed on his behalf.
The jurors' comments came in response to a Los Angeles Times investigation published Sunday into the beating and stabbing death of Dorka Lisker. Bruce Lisker, who had a history of drug abuse and fighting with his mother, was convicted of second-degree murder and has been behind bars ever since.
Juror Linda R. Kelly, a retired Pacific Bell worker living in San Diego County, said she became physically ill as she read The Times' article, which detailed new evidence and findings that contradict the case presented at trial.
"It was making me sick to my stomach," she said.
"Even just talking about it now, I'm getting all teared up. I just hate to think that I was a party to this."
Among the evidence overlooked by authorities and Lisker's defense attorney at the time were photographs of a bloody footprint left in a bathroom.
The footprint was attributed to Bruce Lisker at trial. But a recent analysis by the Los Angeles Police Department concluded that the footprint did not match Lisker's shoes, suggesting there was another suspect in the house at the time of the killing.
The bathroom footprint was "similar in size and dimension" to a shoe-print impression found on the victim's shaved head during an autopsy, according to another recent LAPD analysis. At the time, authorities did not recognize the mark as a shoe print.
At trial, prosecutor Phillip Rabichow told jurors that Lisker made the bloody footprints found at the crime scene. If Lisker was innocent, he asked, "why isn't there an intruder's footprint somewhere?"
Juror Mary L. Tweten said she felt betrayed, in part, because she was misled by the footprint evidence.
"They didn't do their job right," Tweten, a retiree now living in Nevada, said of the authorities. "They didn't present us the whole truth."
Had she known about the evidence, she said, "I would not have voted guilty — absolutely not."
In fact, Tweten said she and several other jurors initially voted to acquit Lisker, but were later persuaded to change their votes by others who strongly believed Lisker was guilty.
On Monday, The Times contacted eight of the 12 people who served on Lisker's jury in 1985. Five said the new information about the case would have prompted them to acquit Lisker. One said she couldn't be sure whether the information would have changed her mind. Two declined to comment, and four others could not be reached.
(Conviction in a criminal trial requires a unanimous vote by jurors.)
Juror Arthur S. Bergem, 64, of Winnetka said he found the new evidence difficult to reconcile with what was presented at trial. "It puts a whole new light on it," he said.
"Would I have voted guilty knowing all this? I'm not sure," Bergem said. "Which, given reasonable doubt, means I'd have to vote not guilty."