- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 16, 2005

BALTIMORE (AP) — Jurors have not reached a decision after the first day of deliberation in the case against two illegal aliens charged with the brutal slayings of three small children.

Jurors peppered a judge with so many questions yesterday that attorneys complained the jury was seeking a replay of the monthlong trial.

Judge Thomas Ward declined to respond to most of the questions, urging jurors to rely instead on their memories and notes.

Adan Canela, 18, and Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 23, are charged with the slayings of their three young relatives whose throats were slashed within inches of decapitation last year. They were found dead in their apartment after returning home from school the afternoon of May 27.

The victims, 9-year-old Ricardo Espinoza Jr. and his sister, 8-year-old Lucero Espinoza and their 10-year-old male cousin, Alexis Espejo Quezada, were related to Mr. Canela and Mr. Perez.

The family is from Tenenexpan, a small town in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The children were born in Mexico and came to the United States with their parents who are here illegally.

The jury has asked questions throughout the long and difficult trial that has involved 25 days of testimony in both Spanish and English and been punctuated by gut-wrenching photos of the mutilated bodies of the victims.

Deliberations began Monday.

Yesterday, the jury sent a list of questions to the judge, including requests for transcripts of specific witnesses and clarifications on certain points of law.

For example, the jury asked whether the defendants can be convicted of conspiracy even if they are not convicted of murder.

Jurors also wanted further information on a vacuum invented by Salvatore Bianca, a former police department crime lab employee, which was used to gather DNA evidence from two gloves and two pairs of blue jeans linked to the defendants.

The judge agreed to send one transcript to the jury, although it was not clear to which of the several requests the judge agreed.

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