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KILLER DALLY WANTS NEW JURY FOR PENALTY PHASE.

Byline: Don Holland Daily News Staff Writer

When a crowd cheered news of Michael Dally's murder conviction outside a Ventura Superior Court room last week, little did its members know the outburst might help Dally gain a new jury to decide whether he faces the death penalty.

Judge Charles Campbell today is set to consider a defense motion seeking a new jury to recommend whether Dally should spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole or be sentenced to death.

``The jubilant circus outside the courtroom cannot but have influenced the jury and tainted any further deliberations upon (Dally's) fate,'' defense attorney James Farley stated in his written motion.

The ``unprecedented and outlandish display of public elation'' and prosecution evidence that portrayed Dally as a cruel and depraved man make it impossible for the jury to render a fair verdict in the penalty phase, Farley said in requesting both a new jury and a new venue outside Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

After Dally's conviction, Farley said he believed the verdict was based not on evidence of a crime but on the prosecution's portrayal of Dally as a despicable man who used cocaine and frequented prostitutes. If the defense is successful, a new jury unfamiliar with Dally's past could be more willing to recommend a life sentence.

Although it was admissible during the guilt phase of the trial, much of the prosecution's character evidence cannot be readmitted during the penalty phase.

Dally, a 37-year-old former supermarket worker, was convicted April 6 of first-degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1996 murder of his wife, Sherri. He was also convicted of two special circumstances that make him eligible for the death penalty.

When the verdicts were read, a crowd gathered in the corridor outside the courtroom erupted in cheers that were heard inside.

In a declaration to the court, Farley said one juror stared at Dally with a ``gleeful smile'' as the verdicts were read, suggesting that anger, not justice, played a role in that juror's decision.

``It is hard to imagine a more appropriate case for discharge of a penalty jury than that which exists here,'' Farley said.

The defense also is seeking to block testimony from Sherri Dally's loved ones and from Sallie Lowe, one of Dally's former lovers, who testified that Dally wanted her to kill his wife several years ago. The defense also wants the court to allow some sort of impact statement from Dally's two sons, Max and Devon.

Farley stated in his motion, ``It simply cannot be ignored that the victim's children are also the defendant's children . . . that the children love their father just as they loved their mother and that a death sentence would have a traumatic effect upon the children.''

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PHOTO (Color) Michael Dally

Also seeking change of venue
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 15, 1998
Words:474
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