SATICOY, Calif. -- A holdout juror in the Rodney King case, Virginia Loya, has said that the case against four Los Angeles police officers seemed as clear to her as the videotape of the beating.
But when the jury deliberated, she said yesterday, the strength of her convictions waned as others planted seeds of reasonable doubt in her mind and pressured her to accept defense claims that the videotape didn't tell the whole story.
When debating the "Gorillas in the Mist" reference made by Officer Laurence Powell, Ms. Loya said she couldn't understand another juror's explanation that the phrase could have been a term for a close family. She objected to references by other jurors that Mr. King "deserved it."
"I said that was a very poor choice of words," she said. "No one deserves to be hit that way."
"It was like we were on trial, too," Ms. Loya said in a tearful interview yesterday in her home in Ventura County. "It was all this 'without a doubt.' I thought you hear what you hear and go and vote. But later on, other jurors talk you out of it. I tried to hang on as much as I could."
Most of the other jurors have refused to discuss the case since their verdicts a week ago acquitted the officers of all charges, with the exception of a hung jury in a single charge against Officer Powell.
Ms. Loya said she had a hard time getting others to see her point of view during the difficult deliberations, which one night left her in tears. She said she repeatedly asked jurors to watch the
videotape of the March 1991 incident, hoping that others would see what she did -- an unreasonable and excessive use of force.
"The tape was the big evidence to me," said Ms. Loya, 40. "They [other jurors] couldn't see. To me, they were people who were blind and couldn't get their glasses clean. If anything, I wish these people weren't so blind."
But others were unswayed by the prosecution evidence in the case.
Ms. Loya said she dug in her heels when considering the charges against Officer Powell, shown on tape hitting Mr. King often.
"They couldn't make me change my mind on guilty for Powell. I wasn't going to give in," she said.