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JURY ACQUITS SUSPECT OF 1 MURDER COUNT IN SLAYING OF BLACK

SHARE JURY ACQUITS SUSPECT OF 1 MURDER COUNT IN SLAYING OF BLACK

John Vento was found not guilty Tuesday morning of one count of murder in the Bensonhurst racial attack, but the jury could not reach a verdict on a second murder charge against him.

The jury, which was in its ninth day of deliberations, convicted Vento of two counts of unlawful imprisonment and four counts of menacing for his role in the attack that left 16-year-old Yusuf Hawkins dead on a Brooklyn sidewalk.Vento was acquitted of the first murder count, a weapons possession charge, one count of unlawful imprisonment and five counts of discrimination. The jury couldn't agree on a count of first-degree riot.

Assistant District Attorney Pamela Hayes had promised before the verdict that Vento would be retried if there was a hung jury.

The Vento case was the second trial stemming from the attack by a white gang on Hawkins, who was shot and killed in the predominantly white neighborhood last year. Hawkins was in the area to look at a used car.

The first trials, held simultaneously but with separate juries, resulted in a murder conviction against Joseph Fama, 19, and a conviction on lesser charges against Keith Mondello, also 19.