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Cryo Chamber

Mistrial Called In Murder Case

communityThe murder trial of a former Guns and Ammo editor ended in a mistrial Wednesday after the jury failed to come to a unanimous decision.

Richard Venola, 53, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his friend, James Patrick O’Neill, 39. Venola maintains that he acted in self-defense when he shot O’Neill once in the chest with a large-caliber rifle in May 2012.

Jurors deliberated for about 2½ hours before telling court officials that further discussions between them would be fruitless. The jury reportedly voted five to three in favor of an acquittal.

The state intends to retry the case. Venola’s attorney, Ron Gilleo, said he intends to present the same defense and testimony as he did in the first trial.

Gilleo said Venola and the victim were friends and drinking together at Venola’s home in the 4800 block of Mayan Drive in Golden Valley.

He said that the conversation took a turn for the worse when O’Neill was insulted by Venola telling him he was going to lock his gun safe, presumably because Venola was suspicious of O’Neill.

“That was probably the moment Richard noticed a change in Mr. O’Neill,” he said.

Gilleo said Venola only shot O’Neill after O’Neill threatened to rob Venola and kill him with one of the guns accessible at the home. -[source]

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