A jury that had already convicted an herbalist of practicing medicine without a license announced Friday that it was deadlocked on a misdemeanor child abuse count stemming from the death of a 13-year-old diabetic boy in the Harbor Gateway area, with the judge subsequently declaring a mistrial on that charge.
Timothy Morrow, 84, was convicted Wednesday of practicing medicine without a license, but jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the child abuse charge after spending portions of three days discussing the case.
Not quite two hours after declaring the mistrial, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria B. Wilson ordered Morrow to return to court next Wednesday to be sentenced for practicing medicine without a license, along with what the judge called a “possible disposition” on the remaining charge.
The panel’s forewoman told the judge that jurors had split 9-3 — with the majority favoring a guilty verdict — on the child abuse charge in four votes on their final day of deliberations.
Jurors had initially indicated Wednesday afternoon that they were deadlocked on the charge, but the judge noted then that there seemed to have been “some movement in the votes” that day and instructed the panel to return to court the next day to continue discussing the case.
The jury’s forewoman told the judge Thursday that the panel was still at an impasse, but the judge noted again that there had been “movement in the votes” on the charge and said that she wanted to give jurors “another day to contemplate this case.”
The judge said she was notified by mid-Friday afternoon that the panel remained deadlocked on the charge, and jurors told her there was nothing the court could do to assist them with their deliberations.
After the panel was excused, Wilson denied defense attorney Sanford Perliss’ motion to dismiss the remaining charge and subsequently met privately with the attorneys before ordering them back to court next week.
In closing arguments Tuesday, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Heidi Matz told jurors that Morrow gave “hope” to the teen’s family by assuring the boy’s mother that he was going through a “healing crisis” and convincing them to use herbal products instead of insulin to treat his Type 1 diabetes before the teen’s August 2014 death. She cited what she called “criminal negligence” and “callous disregard” by Morrow.
Morrow’s attorney countered that the teen’s mother didn’t even know Morrow when she informed a doctor that she wanted to give her son herbal remedies.
“Nobody held a gun on Edgar. Nobody held a gun on Edgar’s mom. Nobody stole insulin from that house so Edgar’s mom couldn’t use it,” Perliss said in his closing argument. “Edgar’s mom wanted to do what Edgar’s mom wanted to do.”
The herbalist’s attorney noted that the teen’s mother testified about growing up in Mexico using traditional remedies and about Morrow telling her his story about successfully battling cancer without undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.
“That’s his life,” Perliss said. “Is it a crime to tell people your experiences?”
The defense lawyer — who urged jurors to acquit his client — suggested that Morrow became a “sacrificial lamb” after the teen’s death, and said the case “hasn’t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In her rebuttal argument, the prosecutor countered, “This case is proven beyond any doubt …”
She told jurors the boy died within hours of Morrow visiting the family’s home and that Morrow’s control over the boy’s family did not abate until the teen passed away.
“Edgar died unnecessarily and today we are here for him,” the deputy city attorney said.
Through a Spanish interpreter, the teen’s mother, Maria Madrigal, testified last week that she initially began giving her son supplements and only used products that Morrow sold after meeting him. She told jurors that Morrow had warned her “not to trust doctors,” and that she “absolutely” felt he had brain-washed her.
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