SAN FERNANDO — An ex-con was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder in a retrial over the killing of a Los Angeles Police Department officer during a traffic stop in Lake View Terrace more than 40 years ago.
The jury in San Fernando was the third to hear the case against Kenneth Earl Gay, now 65, who was charged with murder for the June 2, 1983, slaying of Officer Paul Verna, a married father of two sons.
Jurors also found true special-circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer in the performance of his duties and murder to avoid or prevent a lawful arrest. The panel did not reach a verdict on whether Gay personally used a firearm.
Gay’s conviction had been reversed once by the California Supreme Court, and his death sentence has been reversed twice.
Most recently, the California Supreme Court sent the case against Gay back for retrial in the guilt phase, finding that he was “denied his constitutional right to the assistance of competent counsel” during his first trial.
The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office opted against seeking the death penalty in the retrial after District Attorney George Gascón was elected.
Sentencing in the retrial verdict was set for Oct. 2.
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