CLARIFICATION: An article yesterday on the court-martial of Marine Cpl. Lindsey Scott may have left a misimpression about payments to Scott's defense. Scott's civilian lawyers received a one-time payment of $10,000 in privately raised funds in 1984; since then they have worked on the case without compensation. (Published 2/20/88)

A jury of seven Marine officers deliberated for 6 1/2 hours but did not reach a verdict yesterday in the court-martial of Cpl. Lindsey Scott -- the gripping Quantico marine base whodunit that has ignited debate about racism and justice in the corps.

Outside the tiny room where the jurors were sequestered, a California film producer, a gaggle of reporters, television crews and pistol-toting military police lent the ordinarily sterile headquarters at Quantico a theatrical air.

All week, as the climax has neared in the case of United States v. Scott, the stage has grown more crowded with colorful characters.

Thus it did not seem out of the ordinary on Wednesday, during a recess, for the defense's star witness, a redhead with a flamboyant style of dress, to be huffing and puffing at the silver-haired Los Angeles film producer in cowboy boots.

"I wish you had never appeared until this was over," Cynthia Ausby snapped at the man, who has said he intends to produce a "docudrama" on the Scott case and has sat throughout the nearly month-long trial taking copious notes.

"They know there's a movie {coming} out," she said.

The "they" Ausby referred to are several prosecution witnesses who have branded her a liar, calling into question her testimony last week that she saw Scott at a Zayre store in Woodbridge around 8:15 p.m. on April 20, 1983 -- the same time that the wife of a military policeman said she was abducted, raped, sodomized and slashed by a man she has identified as Scott.

Ausby, who was then a detective at the store, has speculated that the witnesses who questioned her veracity hope to reap fame and fortune from the "docudrama."

"That's ridiculous," responded the unruffled producer, Ellis A. Cohen.

The brief exchange highlighted the theater of events surrounding Scott during his repeat court-martial. At Scott's first trial, in 1983, Ausby testified that she could not remember the date she saw him in the Zayre store. Scott was convicted, but the conviction was set aside last summer and the Marine Corps decided to convene a second court-martial.

As the proceedings have unfolded inside tiny Courtroom No. 1 in Lejeune Hall on the sprawling Quantico base, which straddles the Prince William-Stafford County line about 35 miles southwest of the District, the cast of characters has grown, bringing together -- both in and out of court -- a sometimes uneasy mix of people, including civil rights activists, victims' rights advocates and spit-and-polish marines.

They have formed the backdrop for one of the most closely watched military cases in recent memory, a case tinged with suggestions of racism. Scott is black; the victim is white.

"It's strange and tense that we're all coming from different segments and we're rooting in our own way," said Juanita Johnson, a civil rights activist involved with the Prince William chapters of the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "We believe {Scott} is totally innocent."

Johnson, who keeps a scrapbook on Scott, was part of the daily stream of court-watchers to file into a small, wood-paneled room near the courtroom, from where they watched the proceedings on closed-circuit television. The 24 spectator seats in the courtroom were filled with reporters and guests of the prosecution and the defense.

C.W. Milton, a retired prison guard, showed up nearly every day in support of the victim, whom he described as "a very small girl with a very big heart."

Milton, 59, said he got involved in the case by doing volunteer investigative work for a friend, Ervan Kuhnke Jr., Scott's attorney for his first court-martial.

(The appeals court that overturned Scott's conviction last summer said Kuhnke, a Dumfries lawyer whom Scott selected from the Yellow Pages, had not prepared a competent defense.)

As Milton observed the trial this week, he said Kuhnke "is looking better to me every day," adding that Scott appeared to have no defense to present.

At one point, the heckling and jeering by some of Scott's supporters in the room proved too much and Milton jumped to his feet, shouting, "Could we please have quiet in the courtroom back there?"

A Scott supporter shot back, "Who are you?"

While events were at a lull inside Lejeune Hall, they were hopping outside as Scott's family, other supporters and witnesses held impromptu news conferences.

Two representatives of the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression came from Washington to denounce the proceedings. Ausby, the defense's chief witness, went before the cameras to decry the attacks on her credibility.

James and Mildred Scott, who have traveled more than 40,000 miles and to more than 100 cities to drum up support for their son, also faced the cameras. James Scott said he quit his job as an executive chef at a General Electric plant and sold the family home to raise money for his son's defense. He said the family has spent more than $65,000 so far.

"Whatever happens to him, happens to us," a weary Mildred Scott said, adding that she is taking several medications.

Mildred Scott told reporters yesterday that the Marines had "framed" her son.

"They didn't even look for anybody else," she said. She charged that the Marine investigation was driven by racism and said that "our whole life has been shattered."

Asked if her son had received a fair trial, she responded: "No!"

Scott, who throughout the trial has been free to walk the halls of the headquarters building unescorted, yesterday told a reporter: "I'm always optimistic."

The jury is to reconvene at 9 this morning.