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    Verdicts elude juries in a pair of murder trials

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 9, 2001

    LARGO -- A Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge late Thursday declared a mistrial in the case of an ex-Marine accused of killing his girlfriend.

    Judge Dee Anna Farnell ended the three-day trial of Robert "Rocky" Wells after the jury deliberated for nearly three hours without reaching a verdict.

    Jurors told the judge it was hopelessly deadlocked.

    A second jury also appeared deadlocked after eight hours of deliberations in the unrelated first-degree murder trial of Marquise Jenkins, accused of participating in the shooting death of a Honduran tile setter in St. Petersburg.

    That jury was still deliberating late Thursday.

    Wells, 50, is accused of shooting to death his former girlfriend, Sherry Lynn Ramey, 40, in 1998 with a handgun after she told him she was leaving him. Another jury convicted the St. Petersburg auto mechanic of first-degree murder in 1999, and a judge sentenced him to life.

    But an appeals court last year ordered a new trial because of judicial errors in selecting a jury.

    Jenkins, 19, of St. Petersburg was accused of participating in the home-invasion robbery of Juan Jose Gonzalez on April 26, 1999.

    A second man, Xavier Love, was the triggerman, prosecutors say, and was convicted of first-degree murder.

    A judge sentenced him to life in prison last year.

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