Mistrial in Abdullah Murder Case

April 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Twelve jurors told a judge they could not agree on charges that could have made Ramadan Adbullah eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutor Dennis Peterson said most jurors wanted to convict Abdullah of first degree murder, but one juror didn't agree and that led to a mistrial

Jurors told the judge they were stuck on deciding Abdullah's mental state at the time of the crime. Abdullah's mother Yasmeen Shuler was disappointed with the outcome. Shuler said," I want my son to get the help he needs. I don't believe he deserves any jail time, because I know his true character. He would never deliberately shoot any human."

The defense admitted Abdullah shot and killed Fresno County Deputy Erik Telen in 2001, but they claimed he suffered from schizophrenia. The prosecutor said after talking with jurors a retrial is necessary. Peterson said, "They gave us every indication that they were convinced in the guilt of the defendant. And there's one person who just was the loyal hold out."

Peterson said they will again ask for the death penalty. But Defense Attorney Pete Jones believes next time jurors could swing in favor of Abdullah. Jones said, "We've seen trials that hung 11-1 for guilty then upon retrial, they were unanimous in the other direction."

Abdullah's sister Majee Abdullah said to this day her brother is in another world and in the grasp of a serious mental illness, "He is so gone. Like the other day, he said to us, 'hey they found me not guilty on all charges.' We were looking like he totally didn't understand."

The Telen family has not responded to requests for a comment. Jurors didn't speak to the media after the verdict and were secretly escorted out of the court house.

Abdullah returns to court in May to select a new trial date.


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