Jury struggles with verdict in boat killings case

MIAMI (AP) - Federal jurors are signaling a struggle to reach a verdict in the trial of one of two men accused of killing four people during last year's hijacking of the "Joe Cool" fishing charter boat.

On their third day of deliberations, the jurors sent a note to U.S. District Judge Paul Huck asking if Guillermo Zarabozo was "automatically" guilty of a crime if he brought a gun aboard, even if he didn't know something bad would happen.

Zarabozo testified that he brought a handgun in his luggage but blamed the killings on Kirby Archer, who has pleaded guilty in the case. Zarabozo testified he was unaware that Archer planned to
commandeer the boat and that Archer shot all four victims using Zarabozo's weapon.

His lawyers say under that scenario, Zarabozo should not be convicted for simply carrying the gun aboard.

Prosecutor Karen Gilbert, however, says the question was vague and urged Huck to direct the jurors to consider his legal instructions carefully to find the answer. The judge decided to do just that, and jurors ended deliberations a short time later. They are to return Monday.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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