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Mistrial possible in Culpeper police-shooting case

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Local,Virginia,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

A mistrial could be declared Friday in former Culpeper police officer Daniel Harmon-Wright's case, according to media reports.

On Tuesday, a jury convicted 33-year-old Daniel Harmon-Wright of voluntary manslaughter and other charges. Harmon-Wright had responded to a suspicious person call on Feb. 9, 2012 and fatally shot 54-year-old Patricia Cook while she was in a Jeep Wrangler.

Jurors were heading back to court Wednesday to begin the sentencing phase of the case. But those proceedings were put off after two dictionaries and a thesaurus were found in the jury room.

When the jurors were questioned about the books, several of them admitted to looking up words like "malice" and said that the reference-book usage impacted their decisions, according to media reports. A defense lawyer asked for Judge Susan Whitlock to declare a mistrial, and Whitlock said that she would make a ruling on the motion on Friday.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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