By Deb Murphy
With a poor jury pool turn-out, a second mistrial on the assault charges against Raymond Bencoma was called Thursday afternoon. The District Attorney’s office will move for a change of venue on July 6.
After three and a half days of jury selection, the court ran out of jurors. Those seated were dismissed at 2 p.m. The prosecution and defense had a potential jury pool of roughly 200 in the first trial; this go-around, from a potential pool of 240 jurors, fewer than 100 showed up.
The first trial resulted in a conviction on charges of possession of firearms and ammunition by a felon but the jury couldn’t agree on the four assault with a firearm on law enforcement officer charges.
The charges stemmed from an incident in late August of last year. Four officers approached Bencoma’s home early in the morning. The defense argued that under the circumstances, Bencoma did not know he was pointing a gun at the officers. An officer opened fire, shooting the defendant.