Illness Delays Deliberations in Penn Trial

Jury deliberations in the Sagon Penn police murder trial were postponed Thursday because one of the jurors was ill.

Juror Kimberly McGee told Superior Court Judge Ben W. Hamrick that she is taking medication for a stomach ailment and expects to return today.

Penn, 24, is charged with murder in the March 31, 1985, fatal shooting of San Diego Police Agent Thomas Riggs and attempted murder in the shootings of Police Agent Donovan Jacobs and Sarah Pina-Ruiz, a civilian observer who was a passenger in Riggs’ car.

Penn, who is black, contends he acted in self-defense after police beat him repeatedly with night sticks and Jacobs shouted racial slurs.

Hamrick said he will ask all four alternate jurors to show up in court today for the start of the sixth day of deliberations, in the event that McGee is unable to return. If an alternate juror is selected to replace McGee, deliberations would have to begin again.


The jury had convicted Penn of assault with a deadly weapon on an attempted murder charge for running over Jacobs with a police vehicle. But Hamrick canceled the verdict when juror Vernell Hardy said she had second thoughts.

In other developments, both Hamrick and Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Carpenter are leaving town today. They will not be available if the jury reaches a verdict in the next several days.