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Jury deliberations in Budd trial will continue today



Published: Thu, February 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



CLEVELAND -- A federal jury is scheduled to resume deliberations this morning in the trial of Michael J. Budd, the former Mahoning County sheriff's major who is accused of ordering and personally carrying out beatings and helping to obstruct a federal investigation.

Jurors left the courthouse without a verdict Wednesday afternoon. They have been deliberating since the trial ended Tuesday -- about a day and a half.

On Wednesday morning, jurors asked for transcripts of three witnesses' testimony, which Judge Lesley Wells denied, said defense attorney Sebastian Rucci of Poland. Jurors will have to use their "collective memory" of testimony to reach a decision, he said.

The requested transcripts would have given jurors a word-for-word account of testimony from former jail supervisors William DeLuca and Ronald Denson and from interim Austintown Police Chief Mark J. Durkin.

Testimony

DeLuca and Denson testified Budd ordered the beating of inmate Tahwan Easterly after Easterly punched a female guard during a brawl in the gym. Both said Budd asked them why Easterly was not "put in the hospital." They said they passed the order on to a group of four deputies, who took Easterly to a hallway and assaulted him.

Durkin testified that one of those deputies told Austintown police officers of the beating and that Budd had ordered it. Durkin said the chief wrote a letter to Sheriff Randall Wellington, alerting him to the deputy's statement.

A federal agent later testified that Budd failed to turn over the letter, which was part of a government subpoena for all documents related to the beating.

Budd, whose rank was moved back to deputy pending the outcome of the trial, faces one count of conspiracy in the beating and for obstruction of justice, as well as three counts of aiding and abetting in depriving inmates of their constitutional rights by beating them.




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