A San Jose judge has rejected a defense bid for a new trial on allegations of jury misconduct in the case of Yosemite National Park killer Cary Stayner. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Thomas Hastings became so emotional that he had to leave the bench briefly to compose himself.
Hastings planned to pronounce sentence at 1:30 this afternoon. A jury convicted the motel handyman in the slayings of tourists Carole Sund, her daughter Juli and family friend Silvina Pelosso of Argentina and later handed down a death sentence.
Hastings has the right to agree with the jury´s sentence or reduce it to life in prison without parole. Hastings was scheduled to sentence Stayner this morning when defense attorneys asked for a hearing on allegations that three jurors failed to reveal during pretrial interviews that they had been molested.
The defense also said another juror violated instructions from the judge not to talk about the case outside of court.
Stayner is already serving a federal life sentence for the murder of Yosemite Park naturalist Joie Armstrong.