In a retrial this week, a man who was previously convicted was found guilty of murdering a Los Angeles police officer during a traffic check forty years prior.
After two weeks of deliberation, the jury found Kenneth Gay, 65, guilty of killing Officer Paul Verna in 1983. Gay, who has been behind bars for about 40 years, will serve a life term because his murder conviction had unusual circumstances.
“It’s not exactly happiness. We’ve been in trial for 11 weeks and to have the jury be out so long, it was agonizing,” Sandy Jackson, Verna’s widow, told the Los Angeles Times. “But the end result was what it should be. (Gay) should not be out among us.”
Gay and his co-defendant Raynard Cummings, according to the prosecution, were in a car that motorcycle officer Verna stopped in the suburban area of Lake View Terrace in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles for racing through a stop sign.
According to the prosecution, the two guys, who had carried out over a dozen robberies in the weeks before, believed Verna would apprehend them because they were armed ex-offenders driving a stolen vehicle.
Pamela Cummings’ name was noted by Verna, who also asked Cummings and Gay for identification while leaning into the car. This vital action eventually assisted authorities in solving the murder. Prosecutors claim that Cummings fired the first shot out of fear of being apprehended, handed the pistol to Gay, who leapt out of the car, and then fired another five shots at the officer.
In the initial trial, which took place in 1985, separate juries found Cummings and Gay guilty of murder and recommended that they both be executed. Three years later, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the guilty judgment but overturned Gay’s execution sentence due to ineffective legal representation.
Verna asked Cummings and Gay for identification while leaning into the car and writing down Pamela Cummings’ name. This vital action ultimately assisted authorities in solving the crime. Prosecutors claim that out of fear of being apprehended, Cummings fired the first shot before handing the gun to Gay, who allegedly leapt out of the car and fired another five shots into the officer.
The original trial took place in 1985 when two different juries found Cummings and Gay guilty of murder after each claimed the other was the gunman and recommended the death penalty. Three years later, the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated Gay’s death sentence due to ineffective legal representation but upheld the guilty conviction.