Friday, August 8, 1997
Key for jury was whether Doan planned the killing

BY KRISTEN DELGUZZI
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Though it may have seemed unusual as the verdicts were read Thursday, there was nothing extraordinary about the jury's conclusion that Vincent Doan was both guilty and not guilty of the aggravated murder of his former girlfriend.

During the monthlong trial, the jury of six men and six women was presented with two theories of how - and why - Mr. Doan killed Carrie Culberson last August. That's why Mr. Doan was charged with two counts of aggravated murder, even though he was accused of killing only one person.

So when jurors began their deliberations Monday, they had to decide which of the following scenarios - and thus, which of the two aggravated murder charges - was correct:

  • That Mr. Doan followed through with a premeditated plan to kill Ms. Culberson to prevent her from testifying against him in an assault case.

  • Or that he purposely killed Ms. Culberson at some point after he kidnapped her.

    When they found Mr. Doan not guilty on count one, they were signaling that they did not think that he planned the crime in advance to silence his former girlfriend.

    "Basically, they thought that he decided to purposely kill her," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said. "It's not inconsistent at all. It's totally conceive-able that you can accept one theory and reject another."

    Jurors were extremely consistent in their verdict, finding Mr. Doan not guilty of any charge - or of any specification to the charges - that implied the killing was either premeditated or done to keep Ms. Culberson from testifying against him in another case.

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