Legal experts say the jury in a Bangor triple murder case – which told a judge Tuesday that they were deadlocked on some of the eight charges – may be taking so long to deliberate because only one of the two defendants took the stand.
A judge told jurors in the trial of Randall Daluz of Brockton, Massachusetts, and Nicholas Sexton of Warwick, Rhode Island, to continue deliberations Wednesday. They have already deliberated for four full days, surpassing 40 hours.
During the trial, Sexton blamed the killings on Daluz, and Daluz did not testify. That complicated matters for the jury, who are now weighing Sexton’s testimony as well as his credibility, said Charles Denton, a law lecturer at University of California Berkeley School of Law.
“They are grappling with that testimony and its veracity,” Denton said. “That’s almost always a difficult fact-finding determination.”
Daluz and Sexton are charged with three counts of murder in the drug-related killings. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The three bodies were discovered burned beyond recognition in a car in a Bangor parking lot in 2012. The victims were Nicolle Lugdon, 24, of Eddington, Daniel Borders, 26, of Hermon, and Lucas Tuscano, 28, of Bradford.
The lack of evidence – because of the car fire – could also have made the jury’s job more difficult, said E. James Burke, a clinical professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law. Burke said he doesn’t remember a Maine jury taking this long to reach a verdict on a murder trial in 40 years.
Burke said a quick verdict typically favors the prosecution and a slow verdict often benefits the defense, but this particular case has gone on so long that it’s hard to say.
“With long verdicts like this, all bets are off, nobody knows what it means,” Burke said. “It’s gone beyond common.”
Deputy Attorney General William Stokes has said he couldn’t remember a longer deliberation in a Maine murder trial in more than 35 years.
Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said during the trial that the fire set by the men destroyed key physical evidence and that the killings eliminated any witnesses, but that she believed there was still sufficient evidence to show the defendants worked together to commit the crimes.