Killpack jurors loathed verdict
They wanted to convict husband of child abuse
OREM Jurors who found Jennete Killpack guilty and her husband Richard not guilty of child-abuse homicide in the death of their 4-year-old daughter told the Deseret Morning News they intensely disliked the split-verdict decision but did not have enough evidence to convict him of the charges.
"We wished there had been two separate charges, one for child abuse homicide and one for child abuse," one of the jurors told the newspaper. "If there had been, the verdict would have been different. Richard Killpack would have been guilty of child abuse."
The jury was whisked away from the courtroom by four security guards after their verdict was announced Tuesday night, and the jurors were glad they didn't have to confront the media at that time.
"We were quivery, quaky and on the verge of tears ourselves," one said.
They still want to remain anonymous and don't want to do any more interviews.
"Most don't want to be identified," one said, "because they're afraid that wherever we go, whatever we do, people would come up to us and ask, 'Why'd you do that? What were you thinking?' "
But five of them gathered Sunday night for the first time since the trial to tell their story and explain the split decision. Two others joined in a written statement. The eighth was out of state on vacation and could not be reached.
"We really want to send a message to the prosecutors, the defense team, the defendants, their friends and families, especially, to let them know we didn't absolve Richard of all guilt. It was a technicality that spared him, it really was," one juror said. "It's just to clarify. We're not asking anyone to agree with us. But they weren't there. They weren't asked to follow the rules we had to."
Richard and Jennete Killpack were charged with child-abuse homicide in 4th District Court after Cassandra, an adopted daughter, died after midnight on June 10, 2002. The state medical examiner and other expert medical witnesses testified that she was forced to drink too much water, causing her brain to swell and the amount of sodium in her body to drop to a fatal level.
"Determining the cause of death was the first thing we did," one juror said. "The evidence was overwhelming that it was too much water. The experts explained that beyond any doubt."
They deliberated for nearly six hours, quickly determining that Jennete Killpack was guilty. They eventually decided her husband was not.
"We all agreed water killed her and that Rick had nothing to do with the water that night," a juror said.
They still don't know when the water as much as a gallon, according to medical testimony was forced on Cassandra. They knew Richard Killpack came home from church-related visits that Sunday night to find Cassandra tussling with her mother. He stopped the fighting by holding Cassandra's hands behind her back, but the collaboration of three witnesses convinced the jury that the parents did not force Cassandra to drink any water at that time.
The girl had been forced to consume water at an earlier time, and there was no evidence Richard Killpack was there for any of it.
"The question was, on June 9th, 2002, did Mr. Killpack recklessly cause or permit the child abuse that led to Cassandra's death?" the jurors said in their statement.
The answer, they said, was no.
They were frustrated there was no charge they could use to convict Richard Killpack, even though they believed they had enough evidence to convict him of child abuse.
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