a newly republished account of the notorious Menendez trial
On June 28, 1993 Hazel Thornton showed up for the first day of jury selection. She didn't know she would spend the next seven months as a juror on one of the year's most high-profile murder trials: The People v. Erik Menendez. Erik Menendez and his brother Lyle were on trial for shot-gunning their parents to death in their Beverly Hills home. Hazel Thornton began keeping her journal as a way of getting the trial out of her system every day, so she could sleep at night without being haunted by the day's testimony. And, sworn to shoulder the burden of silence, she also used the journal to help sort out the barrage of details. A behind the scenes witness, Thornton describes with lucidity, charm, and humor the day-to-day experiences of a juror: the riveting emotional testimonies, the deluge of minutiae, and the unpleasant graphic evidence. Going far beyond the reportage of the print or electronic media, her diary gets inside the thoughts, discussions, and actions of the jury, and the trial process itself. She writes about the jury's deliberations, and eventual dead-lock, with revelatory insight into what really happens on a 'hung jury'.
In the author's words: "It is Wednesday, November 17, 1993. Okay, now we've heard the tape, the real 'confession' tape in which Dr. Oziel recorded part of an actual session with the boys, with their cooperation, on 12/11/89. This is supposedly the most damaging evidence against them but, in my own mind, the way things have been developed over the past four months, it only served to strengthen their defense! True, they never directly mentioned self defense or abuse on the tape, but it could be construed (and was construed by Ms. Abramson and Dr. Burgess) that there were many allusions to both...The taped session was very unprofessional and non-therapeutic and it is clear to me that Oziel was trying to provoke them into saying incriminating things."
"A juror refutes some common misperceptions about the hopelessly deadlocked juries in the Menendez case [Thornton] reveals in herlively, astute trial diary that Erik s jury reached an impasse not on the issue of guilt, but on the charge . Countering the notion that the jurors were hoodwinked and baffled by the parade of psychological experts, Thornton shows a firm grasp of the facts and of legal concepts like burden of proof. A highly valuable resource for litigators, and a good read for the expanding army of trial buffs."--Kirkus Reviews
"Hazel Thornton shares her experiences serving on one of the juries of one of the most high-profile murder trials in recent history . [She] began keeping a journal as an outlet for her feelings about the case and to help her sort out the deluge of information that she received in court every day. Her candid entries provide readers with an insider s perspective of a controversial trial and show how the defense attorneys successfully used a blame the victim strategy, which caused hopeless deadlock among the juries for both defendants. The diary reveals much about the thoughts, discussions, and actions of the jury."--Booklist
Hazel Thornton was a telecommunications engineer in Pasadena, California, at the time of the first trial. She is now a professional organizer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online atwww.org4life.com.