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YOUNGSTOWN Abuse case ends with hung jury



Published: Fri, August 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Jurors were deadlocked at 10-2 in favor of conviction.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Ten jurors believed Larry Sapp engaged in sexual conduct with a teenage girl.

But that wasn't enough to overcome the two jurors who didn't believe it.

Sapp's trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where he was charged with eight counts of gross sexual imposition, ended late Thursday afternoon with a hung jury.

Jurors deliberated one hour Tuesday, nine hours Wednesday and seven hours Thursday before informing Judge R. Scott Krichbaum they could not reach a unanimous decision, which is required in criminal cases.

Judge Krichbaum said jurors told him afterward they were deadlocked at 10-2 in favor of conviction. He credited the jurors for working hard and taking their duty seriously.

"They were very emotional when it was over," he said.

Defense attorney John B. Juhasz said the lack of a verdict is frustrating for everyone involved, including the jurors, but he understands it was a difficult task.

"It's a one-witness case," he said. "Either you believe the victim's story or you don't."

Victim's charge

The victim, to whom Sapp is related, said she was sexually abused by him for about four years. It ended when she told a school counselor two years ago.

"I think everybody wanted closure," Juhasz said. "But that's one of the things about our system -- sometimes it doesn't happen."

Assistant Prosecutor Deena Calabrese said she'll discuss the matter with her supervisors before deciding whether to try Sapp a second time.




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