LA VERNE : Date Set for Retrial of Nelson Penalty Phase

A new jury will be selected next month to decide whether a 20-year-old La Verne man should die in the gas chamber for killing two co-workers.

Last week, Pomona Superior Court Judge Clarence Stromwall set March 28 for a retrial in the penalty phase of Sergio Nelson's murder conviction. Nelson did not appear in court for the date-setting hearing.

Nelson was convicted in December of first-degree murder in the October, 1993, shooting deaths of Robin Shirley, 32, and Lee Thompson, 22, both of Pomona. Nelson was upset over being passed over for promotion at the Target department store in La Verne where they all worked.

On Dec. 20, 1994, the same jury that unanimously convicted Nelson could not decide on a sentence of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. The jury voted 11 to 1 in favor of the death penalty and a mistrial was declared.

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