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‘Wilding’ Jury Turns Its Focus to Confession

From United Press International

The jury showed signs of progress Friday in the eighth day of deliberations in the Central Park jogger trial, turning its focus to the written confession of the second youth on trial for rape and attempted murder.

For the first time, the jurors in a state court in Manhattan asked for evidence tied to Kharey Wise, 18, requesting his written confession about the night of random violence in Central Park on April 19, 1989. This occurred after the jury had spent nearly a week concentrating on the other defendant, Kevin Richardson, 16.

Both teen-agers are accused of gang-raping a woman jogger, beating her into a coma and leaving her for dead in a muddy gully. They are accused of being part of a gang of up to 30 youths that roamed the moonlit park, randomly beating and robbing joggers and bicyclists.

Nine victims were attacked during the one-hour “wilding” spree. The most seriously injured victim was the 30-year-old investment banker. She suffered two skull fractures and lost a substantial amount of blood before she was found hours after the attack.

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Richardson is free on $25,000 bail. Wise has been held at Rikers Island in lieu of $50,000 bail since his arrest days after the attack.

As the jury entered its second week of deliberations, the lawyers, reporters and the families of the youths milled about the hallways, waiting for a verdict.

Justice Thomas Galligan has given up the solitude of his chambers for the activity of the courtroom, where he sat on the bench sketching reporters and jurors.

The prosecutor’s most powerful tool is the videotaped confessions of Richardson and Wise. Richardson admitted getting scratched by the woman, but claims he was trying to stop the attack. Wise admits “playing with her leg” while the rape was under way.

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The jury asked also to look at glossy photographs of the jogger’s injuries and the crime scene off a jogging path.


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