CANOGA PARK : Burglary Death Case Ends in Mistrial

A mistrial was declared Thursday in the case of an Arleta man who lost control of his van while fleeing police and crashed into a Canoga Park bus bench, killing a woman.

A Van Nuys Superior Court jury reported it was hopelessly deadlocked over whether to convict Steven Ray Pickard, 33, of murder in the Nov. 20 death of Reyna Martinez Duarte, a 23-year-old housekeeper waiting for a bus.

Police testified that they were chasing Pickard, a paroled burglar, north on De Soto Avenue at 5:40 a.m. because he and three accomplices had just broken into a Calabasas market.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carole Chizever, who sought a murder conviction on the theory that Pickard was fleeing from a felony burglary when he caused Duarte's death, said she will ask for another trial.

Jurors convicted Pickard on one count of burglary and one count of evading arrest. Pickard, who testified in his own behalf and expressed sorrow for causing Duarte's death, also pleaded guilty to six other counts of burglary and one of receiving stolen property.

Three others who were riding with Pickard are to be tried separately on charges of murder and burglary.

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