Eleven of 12 jurors last night told a Bucks County judge that they were hopelessly deadlocked and could not reach a unanimous decision on whether Omar Sharif Cash should be sentenced to life in prison or to death.
One male juror, however, raised the possibility that the panel might be able to reach a unanimous verdict if it deliberated some more.
Considering that possibility, Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. ordered the jury to return to his Doylestown courtroom this morning for further deliberations. The panel deliberated for three hours yesterday.
The jury on Thursday convicted Cash, 28, of Philadelphia, of first-degree murder in the May 2008 shooting death of Edgar Rosas-Gutierrez, 32, in Bensalem. The panel also convicted Cash of raping the victim's girlfriend.
Ruben Gur, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert in neuropsychology, testified yesterday that Cash's brain was damaged and that Cash lacked impulse control. A defense witness, Gur said the reasons for the damage were unclear, but possible causes included a head injury Cash suffered from a fall in 2007; his mother's drinking of alcohol while he was in her womb; and his growing up under stress.
Defense attorney Michael Goodwin asked in his closing argument yesterday for jurors to have mercy on Cash, saying the defendant was a product of factors beyond his control, including having grown up without parental supervision and under the thumb of drug dealers.
Prosecutor Marc Furber, however, told the jury that Cash made choices when he kidnapped Rosas-Gutierrez and the victim's girlfriend in their car outside a Crescentville nightclub at about 3:30 a.m. May 11, 2008.