LOCAL : Buckey Jurors Return Sealed Verdict, Stuck on Another Count

From Times Wire Services

Jurors in the McMartin Pre-School molestation trial returned one verdict under seal today but indicated that they are deadlocked on another of the 65 molestation counts against Raymond Buckey and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey.

"They've said only that they've taken several ballots and cannot reach a verdict on a count," Superior Court Judge William Pounders said. "Given the fact there are 65 counts, that is not too significant."

The judge has instructed the jurors to give him each verdict, once it is final, sealed in an envelope. He said he will begin reading the verdicts as early as next week even if all 65 charges have not been decided.

Pounders said he will meet with lawyers Friday afternoon to discuss the status of the case. If more than one verdict has been delivered by then, he said, he will set a date the following week for those verdicts to be read.

Buckey, 31, and his mother, 63, are charged with conspiracy and child molestation at their family-owned Manhattan Beach preschool. Their 2 1/2-year-old trial is the longest criminal trial in U.S. history and has cost Los Angeles County more than $15 million.

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