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Hung jury means new trial for Olvera

May 08, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

One juror said not guilty.

And one juror is all it took for a judge to declare a mistrial in the case of a 45-year-old U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of molesting a girl.

A new trial is set to begin June 11 against Joseph Socorro Olvera, accused of six counts of lewd acts with a child under age 14.

Olvera, his wife, his 21-year-old son and 19-year-old daughters were in the County Courthouse for the verdict. So were the 11-year-old victim's mother and her 21-year-old daughter.

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Jury members sent a note to Superior Court Judge Matias Contreras about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday stating they were deadlocked.

After he answered some questions from the jury, Contreras asked the jurors to go back and deliberate some more.

An hour later, jury members again sent a note to Contreras stating they were deadlocked.

The not guilty stance by a female juror on all six charges caused the deadlock. All 11 other jury members voted that Olvera was guilty on all charges.

That dissenting jury member chose not to talk to a reporter.

When Contreras declared the mistrial, Olvera did not show any emotion.

The mother and sister of the victim, sitting in the back left side of the courtroom as they had for much of the trial, quietly shed tears.

Some jury members cried as they walked out of the courthouse. They also chose not to talk to the media.

"You could see they were emotional. They were very disappointed," said county Deputy District Attorney Deborah Owen, who prosecuted the case.

After the mistrial was declared, Owen and El Centro police Detective Angie Cuevas talked to about six of the jurors.

"Overall they said they were satisfied with the evidence presented. They were not concerned with the (lack of) medical exams" of the victim, she said.

Cuevas said, "I'm also disappointed we didn't get the conviction. That's our ultimate goal."

Owen said jurors told her why the one juror voted not guilty, but said wouldn't feel comfortable telling the media.

Owen added new evidence, discovered during the trial, will be brought up in the new trial.

She said prosecutors will investigate the new allegations and add more charges against Olvera if the alleged acts happened under local jurisdiction.

The victim in the case that ended in the mistrial Tuesday was 6 to 10 years old when the molestations allegedly occurred. She is now 11 years old and in the seventh grade. According to reports from the girl, the molestations happened six times over four years.

The alleged acts were reported to police in July 2001. The last act reportedly happened in March 2001.

Olvera was the boyfriend of the victim's mother during the time in question. That relationship started in 1994 when Olvera went to the mother's house as a Border Patrol agent checking a report of illegal immigrants living at that residence.

He came back to the residence several months later to ask the mother out on a date. The mother was pregnant with her youngest daughter at that time.

>> Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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