Just before they went their separate ways, the 12 men and women who decided today that socialite Claus von Bulow was not guilty of two attempts to kill his wife made one last decision.
"We decided we'd all have a reunion in September," said juror Rose Carlos, a factory worker in Johnston, R.I. "In the two months that trial went on, we became a family. We're going to have a reunion every year as long as possible."
The jury held a party after rendering its verdict. They drank beer and champagne and generally acted like a group of relieved graduating seniors.
Juror Virginia Supsky, a Head Start counselor here, said, "I don't think the verdict was ever really in doubt." Asked if anyone had changed his mind during the course of deliberations, she said, "No, not that I know of. I'm just glad it's over."
Most of the jurors -- which included a bank clerk, a garment worker and a lab technician -- would not be interviewed after today's verdict, saying they had agreed to refuse interviews for a few days.
"What it came down to, though," Carlos said, "was that there just wasn't enough evidence to convict Claus von Bulow. We were very open minded. We listened to all the testimony, sometimes twice, and there just was not enough to say the man was guilty. In the end, we all agreed on that."
Another juror, Erminio Merluzzo, a retired postman from Cranston, R.I., and the godson of Judge Corinne Grande's father William Grande, said, "We looked at the thing inside out. We looked at it up and down. We had to make a decision that we could live with for the rest of our lives and I think we've done that. We have peace of mind."
On the question of whether any of the jurors changed his mind over the course of four days of deliberations, Merluzzo said, "I ain't saying."
Said Carlos, "We all agreed not to discuss the deliberations too much for a good while."
Some jurors that found von Bulow guilty on the same charges three years ago in a courthouse in Newport, R.I., were upset with today's verdict.
"My first thought was 'Oh God, how could they?' " said Constance Jenrette, who sat on the jury in 1982. "I was just sick about it . . . As far as I'm concerned, the man is guilty."
And another juror from the original trial, Winifred Shaw, said, "I think they did the best they could but I'm not satisfied. I'm frustrated, angry. Justice has not been done."
The prosecution had counted heavily upon the eleventh-hour testimony of von Bulow's former lover Alexandra Isles, an actress. But Carlos said she and her fellow jurors were "not that impressed."
"I'm sure a lot of what she said could have been true," Carlos said. "But I can't really say either way. You know, I'd read about her before. But what goes on between two people, how can you really say? Maybe she loved him, maybe not. Maybe he felt that way, or maybe not.
"Getting picked for this jury, that is a serious thing to me . . . Now I'm just tired. Beat. I'm going to take the rest of the week off. My daughter made tapes of some of the trial sessions on the VCR. Maybe I'll watch those one more time."