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POTENTIAL JURY PROBLEM LEADS TO MISTRIAL

A potential problem with the jury pool led to the rescheduling of the murder trial of the second of three alleged drug traffickers linked to the execution-style murders of two rivals, acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Tracey A. Brunecz said Monday.

Brunecz said State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch approved the mistrial Friday in the case against Daniel Diaz. Kloch's decision came after defense complaints that the limited number of potential jurors left in the trial pool made it apparent that a jury of 12 and three alternates probably could not be seated.

Diaz, 36, of San Diego, remained jailed pending a new trial date. Aaron B. Pike, 27, of Jamestown, also is in jail awaiting the June 1 start of his jury trial in the case.

On March 3, Gregory R. Pattison, 33, of Jamestown, was convicted of first- and second-degree murder and conspiracy charges in the shooting deaths of Richard M. Alicea Jr., 19, and Johnny T. Houston, 22, in Gerry on May 23, 2001.

All three face the possibility of life without parole.

Alicea, of Jamestown, and Houston, of Charlotte, N.C., allegedly were killed by Pattison under a contract with Diaz and Pike because they were suspected of having stolen marijuana and cash from a drug ring funnelling marijuana and methamphetamines from California and Mexico into Jamestown.

Pattison, Diaz and Pike are also under federal indictment on drug trafficking charges in addition to the murder charges.