AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN June 15, 1994 Wed Pg B2 Davidian Case Juror Asks Judge To Be Le

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AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN June 15, 1994 Wed Pg B2 Davidian Case Juror Asks Judge To Be Lenient -Associated Press The jury foreman in the murder conspiracy case against 11 Branch Davidians has asked the federal judge who will be sentencing the defendants later this week to be lenient, the Associated Press learned Tuesday. Sara Vain, who headed jury deliberations in the San Antonio trial of David Koresh's followers earlier this year, says the punishment prosecutors are seeking is too harsh. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Walter Smith, Vain said she was astonished that seven of the defendants are facing 30 years in prison for convictions on weapons charges that initially were thrown out. Defendant Ruth Riddle would have been acquitted of all charges and freed if Smith hadn't reinstated convictions against the seven for carrying firearms during the commission of a crime. "It's unfathomable that she (Riddle) is facing five years, much less 30 years in prison," Vain wrote. "If we had interpreted the word 'carrying' literally, she would be totally free since there was no proof beyond reasonable doubt that she even walked to the window of her room while in possession of a firearm!" Vain and other jurors have said the panel reached the weapons charge conviction by mistake. Smith said originally that he would throw out the convictions of Renos Avraam, Brad Branch, Jaime Castillo, Livingston Fagan, Kevin Whitecliff, Graeme Craddock and [Ruth] Riddle for carrying a firearm during the commission of a crime. The judge said the [weapons] convictions were invalid because the jury had acquitted the Davidians of the murder conspiracy charge. But Smith reversed himself after prosecutors provided case law showing that inconsistent verdicts are legally valid. Prosecutor John Phinizy said it's not the jury's job to be concerned with sentencing.


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