SAN DIEGO – Jurors in the trial of David Westerfield finished a sixth day of deliberations Thursday without reaching a verdict on whether he kidnapped and killed his 7-year-old neighbor, Danielle van Dam.
Defense attorney Steven Feldman also asked the judge to sequester the jury because of intense television and radio coverage that was creating a "lynch mob mentality" that could pressure jurors.
"Our jury is under siege," Feldman said.
Judge William Mudd told attorneys it wasn't necessary to put the jurors in a hotel, even though one alternate juror reported being followed, possibly by a member of the news media.
Mudd said he would crack down on press coverage of the trial, restricting reporters to contact solely with a court spokeswoman. He criticized reporters for hounding a court bailiff and clerk. A gag order prevents anyone involved with the case from speaking to reporters.
On Thursday, jurors reviewed testimony from a San Diego police evidence expert, Jennifer Shen. She testified during the two-month trial that an orange fiber caught in Danielle's necklace matched fibers in Westerfield's sport utility vehicle.
The jury previously had asked to see pornography seized from Westerfield's house, to hear an audio recording of the divorced engineer's police interview and to view a provocative picture he took of the teenage daughter of a former girlfriend.
Westerfield, 50, went on a long, meandering trip to the desert on Feb. 2, the day Danielle was reported missing from her home in suburban northern San Diego. In an interview with police upon his return, Westerfield used the word 'we' to describe a trip he claims to have made by himself.
Danielle's body was found three weeks later along a rural road east of San Diego.