Deliberations continue in Tempongko murder trial

The murder trial of a man accused of stabbing his estranged girlfriend to death in San Francisco in 2000 remained without a verdict Monday after more than two days of deliberation by a San Francisco Superior Court jury.

Tari Ramirez, 35, is charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Claire Joyce Tempongko, a 28-year-old jewelry store worker, inside her Richmond District apartment on Oct. 22, 2000.

The six-man, six-woman jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon and continued throughout the day Monday without a verdict.

Because of scheduling conflicts, the jury will resume deliberations the morning of Sept. 30.

Ramirez allegedly stabbed Tempongko repeatedly after confronting her inside the apartment, while her 10-year-old son watched, according to court testimony.

Tempongko's 5-year-old daughter was also inside the apartment at the time.

A medical examiner testified during the trial that 21 knife wounds were found on Tempongko's body.

Attorneys for Ramirez, who was arrested in 2006 after fleeing to his native Mexico, argued the killing was voluntary manslaughter and not murder.

Defense attorney Matthew Rosen said Ramirez helped support Tempongko's children, who were not his own, and had never planned to kill Tempongko before coming to her apartment, but acted without thinking after she told him she had aborted his child.

Prosecutor Liz Aguilar-Tarchi said Ramirez was not provoked, but had been angry with Tempongko before coming to the apartment, suspecting she had spent the day with another man.

The trial has been watched closely by domestic violence victim advocates, because Ramirez had been arrested three times in 1999 for assaulting Tempongko, and he spent four months in jail for one of the arrests.

A year after her murder, Tempongko's family sued the city of San Francisco, alleging police had failed to transmit their reports to the city's adult probation department, the district attorney's office and the superior court.

The city settled the lawsuit in 2004 by awarding $500,000 to Tempongko's two children.

Bay City News Service

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