Jury unable to reach quick verdict in teen beating case
Cinthia Romero was smiling as she left the courtroom at noon Wednesday, shortly after the jury had been sent out of the room to decide her guilt or innocence on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.Five and a half hours later, the jurors told Judge James Boyd they had not been able to reach a verdict, and the judge sent them home for the night with instructions to return at 8 a.m. today and resume deliberations.Romero, 17, is accused of helping savagely beat a 16-year-old runaway girl with a golf club near Independence Pass on Oct. 9, 2004, and then leaving the girl for dead when a passing car stopped on Highway 82. She faces up to 48 years in prison if convicted, said Andrew Heyl.Romero’s former boyfriend, Jaime Castro, 18, who pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a deadly weapon last summer, testified earlier this week that he and Romero attacked the victim together.Castro said he and Romero were worried the victim, who had come to Aspen with Romero after the two ran away from home in California, was about to turn herself in to authorities. They feared if she did, it might have jeopardized Romero’s freedom.The victim, whose name is being withheld because she is a minor, also has testified that Romero was one of her attackers.But Romero, who is being tried as an adult, said she was asleep at Castro’s apartment, which they were sharing with Castro’s mother, at the time of the assault. She said she did not even know of the attack until much later and denied worrying about getting in trouble if the victim turned herself in.Defense attorney Arnie Mordkin said in his closing argument on Wednesday that Castro and an unidentified accomplice actually committed the beating. He theorized that Castro and the other man were hoping to have sex with the victim but decided to kill her when she resisted their efforts.John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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