News briefs from Califonia Coast – Judge Thomas Adams

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ASSOCIATED PRESS 7:27 a.m. October 1, 2004 SANTA BARBARA – Jurors acquitted a man of the attempted murder of his cab driver, whom he accused of being an Iranian terrorist. But jurors Thursday deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting Fernando Zavala, 51, of assault with a firearm in the attack on cabbie Umut Ozkan, a 23-year-old from Cyprus. Prosecutors said they will retry Zavala on the assault count. Ozkan testified last week that he feared for his life on April 11, 2002, as he ran from his cab, dodging bullets. He wasn’t hurt. Zavala was drunk and attempting to reload his .45-caliber handgun when police arrested him, an officer said. Senior Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer said jurors asked a couple of times for [b]Superior Court Judge Thomas Adams[/b] to clarify the issue of physical force, which led to the disagreement on the assault count. “The jury grappled with the intoxication issue and decided he didn’t have the intent to kill, which required them to come back with a not guilty on the attempted murder,” the prosecutor said. “We are pleased they were close to a decision on the assault with a firearm and believe next time another jury will be able to reach a unanimous verdict on that count.” During the two-week trial, the prosecution said Zavala fired at Ozkan with the intent to kill, while the defense maintained Zavala was drunk and fired into the air, never meaning to harm the former cabbie. Dozer recounted how Ozkan picked up Zavala in his taxi outside the SOhO nightclub. Zavala allegedly threatened Ozkan numerous times, including telling him that he’d kill him, the prosecutor said. Source:

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