JURORS DEADLOCK IN MURDER TRIAL.
A jury failed to reach a verdict in the trial of the first of four gang members accused in the March 1995 torture-slaying of a part-time ice-cream truck driver whose sideline was selling marijuana.
The jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting Kevin Simmons, who with two half brothers and a friend is accused of beating and burning Anthony Readell Hogan in his Lancaster home, where the men had gone to steal drugs and money.
Prosecutors said they intend to try Simmons again, and hope to consolidate his trial with the other three defendants' trial, expected to start this month.
The split in the jury appeared to hinge on the testimony of Simmons' teen-age nephew, who said in court that his uncle had admitted to him that he was involved in Hogan's killing.
The holdout jurors didn't believe the nephew, said defense attorney Michael Belter.
Simmons, 32, his half brothers Robert Adams, 24, and Tommy Simmons III, 36, and friend Archie Dixon were described by investigators as hard-core gang members with prison records. Tommy Simmons III lived down the street from the victim's home in the 3500 block of West Avenue K-10.
All the defendants except Dixon were already in prison for various drug offenses when they were charged in March 1996 as suspects in the slaying. Dixon was arrested a month later at the Oakland airport after detectives followed his girlfriend, who flew up there to meet him.
According to court records, Hogan let the four men into his house, then was tied up and gagged in the living room and tortured. Also tortured was Hogan's girlfriend, who was beaten unconscious with a dumbbell and remained in a coma for nearly a month after the attack.
The intruders found marijuana, but missed a substantial amount of cash that investigators discovered under a bed, authorities said. They drove off in Hogan's Oldsmobile Cutlass, abandoning it in Pico Rivera.
The girlfriend later filed a lawsuit against Hogan's estate and his estranged wife, claiming he was negligent in allowing the attackers into the house.