Woman convicted in LA train platform death

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jury which convicted a homeless woman of second-degree murder in the death of a woman pushed off a Los Angeles train platform heard expert opinions Wednesday on whether the defendant was sane at the time of the crime.

But the panel went home for the evening without reaching a verdict in the sanity phase of Jackkqueline Pogue's trial. Jurors were to resume deliberations Thursday.

Pogue was found guilty late Tuesday in the death of 84-year-old Betty Sugiyama, who was pushed onto train tracks, struck her head and never regained consciousness.

Two experts, one for the prosecution and one for the defense, testified about Pogue's life and said she had been plagued by mental illness since she was 15.

But the prosecution expert, Dr. Mark Jaffe, said Pogue was mentally ill but not insane.

"She does have a severe mental illness," he said. "She was hearing voices and having delusions. I believe she has schizoid affective disorder."

He said that was not sufficient to meet the criteria for declaring her legally insane.

The defense expert, Camy Kingston, a neuropsychologist, said that Pogue was insane at the time she pushed Sugiyama off the train platform.

She said the defendant was also mentally disabled and had been shuttled among mental care facilities throughout her life.

Pogue's lawyer said during the trial that she was an unmedicated schizophrenic who had been released from a hospital three days before the incident.

Witnesses said Sugiyama was walking with her sister when Pogue, 46, lunged at her and pushed her off the commuter rail platform onto the tracks.

An earlier jury deadlocked in a separate trial, uncertain if Pogue acted deliberately and understood the consequences of her actions.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen assured jurors that if they find Pogue not guilty by reason of insanity, she will be placed in a mental health facility. He said she could be kept there for the duration of her sentence on the murder conviction.

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