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San Diego

A San Diego police officer accused of second-degree murder in the death of his wife went on trial Tuesday for the second time.

Pablo Agrio, 30, of Paradise Hills is being tried in the March, 1988, shooting death of Alma Agrio, who was enrolled in the sheriff’s academy and hoped to become a deputy sheriff.

A mistrial was declared in the first trial in November, but jurors then did acquit him of first-degree murder and deadlocked on the remaining charge. Agrio, now suspended, is a four-year veteran.

The attorneys gave their opening statements Tuesday after a jury was seated and sworn in by San Diego Superior Court Judge Terry O’Rourke.

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Both attorneys told the jury that Agrio’s wife came home about 10:30 p.m. March 26, 1988, and had been drinking. The couple quarreled, and the shooting occurred during a struggle for Pablo Agrio’s service revolver.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Craig Rooten told jurors that Pablo Agrio was angry because his wife left with a friend to celebrate her upcoming graduation from the sheriff’s academy. He accused her of shirking her duties as a wife and mother.

After she closed the bedroom door on him, Agrio kicked it in, according to Rooten.

Agrio’s attorney, Edmundo Espinoza, told jurors that Agrio’s wife spit at him during the fight and aimed the gun at him.

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The gun went off while he was shaking her, Espinoza said.

“This is not a murder case. It’s an accidental death,” he said, adding that Agrio will take the stand to describe what happened.

Espinoza said Agrio tried to stop his wife from leaving during the quarrel because he feared for her safety if she drove because she was intoxicated.

In the first trial, eight jurors voted for a conviction on second-degree murder, while the other four were deadlocked for a conviction of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.


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