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UPDATE: Jurors hung on murder charge in drunken driving death

Six-man, six-woman jury finds Agua Dulce man guilty on other counts

Posted: October 16, 2012 10:17 a.m.
Updated: October 16, 2012 5:20 p.m.
 

An Agua Dulce man accused of murder for allegedly running down and killing his neighbor while driving drunk is expected to face another murder trial after a jury reached an impasse on the charge of murder.

The six men and six women on the jury considering the case against 65-year-old Dennis Dean Keene told Superior Court Judge Bernie LaForteza late Monday that they could not reach a unanimous decision on the charge of second-degree murder, court officials said Tuesday.

However, they found Keene guilty of all other criminal counts against him, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, causing injury while driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol level exceeding the legal limit causing injury.

Although nine jurors voted in favor of the murder charge, three did not, according to court officials.

In February, Keene was charged with murder and drunken driving in the 2011 crash that killed his neighbor Lori Lindlief, 55, while she was walking her dogs on an Agua Dulce street.

He is now expected to be re-tried on the charge of murder, court officials said Monday.

Over the last three weeks, jurors and three alternate jurors listened to testimony from several of Keene’s friends and associates about his drinking on the day of the fatal crash.

The news of a hung jury on the issue of murder shocked several of Lindlief’s relatives and friends who have faithfully attended most of the trial’s proceedings day after day.

“The verdict was completely absurd,” said John W. Schureman, Lindlief’s brother-in-law.

“With seven prior convicted DUIs, the offender has clearly shown a complete disregard for human life, and this disregard for others caused the death of our beautiful Lori.”

Deputy District Attorney Susan Choi said she will have a clearer understanding of how to proceed with the murder charge against Keene on Thursday when court reviews the matter.

“It was interesting,” Choi said when asked for her reaction to jurors’ announcement that they could not reach a unanimous decision on the charge of murder.

Sentencing for Keene on the three counts upheld by the jury will be put off until the court deals with the outstanding murder charge against him.

Keene remains in custody.

jholt@the-signal.com
661-287-5527

 

 

 

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