Another mistrial ordered for brain-damaged Tulsan accused of killing his mother

Friday, March 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A second mistrial was declared Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of a brain-damaged Tulsa man accused of strangling his mother and dumping her body in a lake.

Charles Ramsey now faces a third murder trial in connection with the death of Sandra Ramsey, whose body was found floating in Lake Yahola almost a year ago.

Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers scheduled a new trial for May 14.

About four hours into jury deliberations, the panel informed Sellers that seven members had voted for acquittal, five wanted a conviction and at least two on each side said they would not change.

After three more hours of deliberation, the panel informed the judge the split was now 7-4, with one juror undecided. After a poll revealed most jurors thought there was no chance of reaching the unanimous verdict needed to resolve the case, Sellers declared a mistrial.

In January, jurors deliberated for about six hours but could not reach an unanimous verdict after a one-week trial.

District Judge David Peterson declared a mistrial after the jury foreman said the panel was split 7-5 vote and there was no indication that further deliberations would produce a verdict.

Ramsey, 38, has spent more than 11 months in the Tulsa Jail without bail.

On March 25 a fisherman found the body of Sandra Ramsey floating in Lake Yahola _ about 1 1/2 miles from the Ramsey residence _ with a concrete block tied to her leg with a bungee cord.

A medical examiner reported that the probable cause of death was asphyxiation by strangulation.

The 55-year-old woman was reported missing on March 2 by a neighbor. Her son told police that he had last seen her as she walked from their residence across the street on March 1, presumably to visit a neighbor.

Charles Ramsey has denied any involvement in the killing.

Ramsey sustained brain damage in a 1998 motorcycle crash in Florida, and he moved to Tulsa to live with his mother in 1999.

Defense attorney Gregg Graves said investigators, by their own testimony, indicated that they don't know who killed Sandra Ramsey or who put her body in the lake.

Assistant District Attorney David Robertson said Sandra Ramsey watched over her son ``very carefully'' and that the defendant was a frustrated, unhappy man who had ``lost his independence.''

Ramsey was ``an easy target'' for police, but ``the proof is not there,'' Graves has said.

Police said 57 bungee cords _ including some attached to three concrete blocks _ were recovered from behind the fenced-in Ramsey residence on March 26. Fifty-nine concrete blocks were found on the property, according to testimony.

Graves said he plans to request a bond be set for Ramsey, and Sellers said after the four-day trial that he would be willing to consider that if a formal motion is filed.