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Black Sunday fire trial decision postponed

Karen Krell walks toward the courtroom of Judge

Karen Krell walks toward the courtroom of Judge Margaret Clancy. (July 30, 2009) Credit: Newsday File / Patrick E. McCarthy

Bronx State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Clancy will not decide until Feb. 10 whether to throw out convictions in last winter's Black Sunday fire trial because a juror contacted a witness while deliberations were underway. A decision had been expected Monday.

Juror Karen Krell, a schoolteacher, admitted in July that she disobeyed jury instructions by e-mailing firefighter Brendan Cawley of Manhattan who was injured in the Jan. 23, 2005, fire and testified at the trial.

Clancy must decide whether Krell's actions tainted the verdicts.

Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, of Malverne, and firefighter John Bellew, 37, of Pearl River, died after jumping to escape flames in the East 178th Street apartment building.

The jury found the building manager and owner guilty of criminally negligent homicide after prosecutors said they didn't remove illegal, tenant-built walls that confused firefighters.

PHOTOS: Click here to see photos from the memorials and funerals for Lt. Curtis Meyran and firefighter John Bellew

PHOTOS: Click here to see photos from recent LI fires

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