Judge rules that verdict in Pinto case is up to jury

It's up to the jury, not the judge, to decide whether the Ford Motor Company is guilty of reckless homicide in a Pinto crash that killed three girls, Judge Harold Staffeldt ruled Thursday. Judge Staffeldt turned down a Ford request for a directed verdict of innocent in the Pinto case and said the jury will begin deliberations March 10.

The state and the defense formally rested their cases Wednesday afternoon in the ninth week of the landmark trial, which is testing a 1977 Indiana law that says corporations can be tried for criminal, as well as civil, liability.

Ford is charged with the deaths of Judy, Lyn, and Donna Ulrich, whose 1973 Pinto crashed and burned on a northern Indiana highway Aug. 10, 1978, after it was struck from behind by a 1972 Chevrolet van.

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