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A Baxter County jury spent six hours in deliberations Wednesday before telling Circuit Court Judge Gordon Webb they were deadlocked on the first-degree murder charge against Robert Dean Penny for the December 2017 shooting death of Penny’s landlord, 71-year-old Chester Raymond Hornowski.
The jury found the 62-year-old Penny not guilty of aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a weapon at John Self. They found Penny guilty of aggravated assault for attempting run down Sgt. Doug Meurer of the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office.
They also found Penny guilty of second-degree criminal mischief for crashing his truck into Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery’s new Chevrolet Tahoe. The jury then went back into deliberations to determine Penny’s punishment for the convictions.
Judge Webb informed the jury Penny would face trial again on the first-degree murder charge. Prosecutors make the ultimate decision as to whether a charge that ends in deadlock is retried. David Ethredge, 14th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, indicated his office would take the murder charge to trial a second time at the beginning of the new year.
After deliberations lasting less than an hour, the jury sentenced Penny to six years each on both the aggravated assault and criminal mischief charges. The jury recommended the sentences be served consecutively, meaning Penny will serve 12 years. The jury also fined Penny a total of $20,000.
The sentences reflect the maximum the jury could have given Penny for the convictions.
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