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Westerfield jury asks to hear police interview

David Westerfield
David Westerfield  

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- Jurors deliberating the fate of David Westerfield, the man accused of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Danielle van Dam, asked Tuesday to listen again to a recorded police interview in which Westerfield gave his alibi.

In the February 4 interview with a San Diego, California, police officer, Westerfield recounted his trip into the desert in his motor home on the weekend Danielle disappeared. The recording was made less than three days after Danielle was taken from her bed in the middle of the night.

In the interview, Westerfield, 50, uses the term "we" in describing his trip -- a reference prosecutors have used to show he was not alone in the barren desert area. The interviewing officer testified Westerfield's use of the word caught his attention.

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Jurors also asked San Diego Superior Court Judge William Mudd to have a written transcript of another police interview with Westerfield read back to them. The interview also took place in the days after the abduction.

Tuesday was the fourth day of deliberations for the six-man, six-woman jury. The jury went home in the midafternoon without reaching a verdict.

Westerfield is charged with felony murder and kidnapping, plus a misdemeanor count of possessing child pornography. Under the felony murder charge, he is accused of killing Danielle during the commission of another crime -- kidnapping.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty if he is convicted.

Danielle's body was found in the Southern California desert February 27. The trial began June 4, and the jury heard 100 witnesses and saw nearly 200 exhibits and pieces of evidence.

Also Tuesday, the judge expelled from court a local radio reporter because her station, KFMB-AM, reported details of a closed-door session involving the case last week.

River Stillwood is a producer for the Rick Roberts Show and has been a pool radio reporter for a number of stations during the trial.

"We had a source inside the courtroom that had given one of our talk shows some information regarding a closed-door hearing," said Dave Sniff, KFMB program director. "The judge then decided River should be expelled from the courtroom because she was associated with the station."

Stillwood did not report the leaked details, he said. A station attorney came to court and argued the judge was violating Stillwood's First Amendment rights, but the judge refused to allow her back in.




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