Killer's Confession Swayed Jurors

Meki Gaono's own words sealed his fate

By Susan Taylor
|  Monday, Apr 27, 2009  |  Updated 5:00 AM PDT
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Killer's Confession Swayed Jurors

A father grieving for his slain son, an Oceanside police officer killed in duty, says he tried to help the suspect (pictured) turn his life around before the shooting.

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 Two jurors say the confession by a documented gang member convinced them he was guilty of the murder of Oceanside Police Officer Dan Bessant.  

The jurors asked the North County Times to use only their first names in the article about the trial of "Meki Gaono."  The two said they are only speaking for themselves and not for their 10 fellow jurors. 

"Ultimately, that was the deal-sealer," Walter, a man who throughout Gaono's six-week trial was Juror No. 6, told the paper.

But Walter and a second juror said they had reservations about the way Oceanside police questioned the then-17-year-old, who the two jurors said appeared to be easily manipulated.

"The way the confession was obtained took some of the veracity away from it," said juror Richard, who works for a local utility company. "It didn't make it null and void, but it didn't make it like gospel." The men say it was impossible for them to get around the confession when deciding Gaono's fate. 

 On April 20th, the jury concluded that Gaono was guilty of 2007 shooting of Bessant. 

Find out what happened inside the deliberations room in the article on NCTimes.com.

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