Jury told to keep deliberating in in trial over bunker fire

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — A jury has apparently reached a verdict on one of two counts against a wealthy stock broker charged in the fire death of a man who was helping him dig tunnels for a nuclear bunker beneath a Maryland home.

In a note Wednesday to the judge, jurors said they’ve reached an agreement on one of the counts but are at an impasse on the other charge against 27-year-old Daniel Beckwitt. The note doesn’t indicate which charge they can’t agree on.

Beckwitt is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 2017 death of 21-year-old Askia Khafra.

The judge instructed the jurors to keep deliberating.

Defense attorney Robert Bonsib has said Khafra’s death was an accident, not a crime. But Montgomery County prosecutor Marybeth Ayres said Beckwitt sacrificed safety for secrecy and created the conditions that prevented Khafra from escaping the fire.

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