The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Thursday, December 15, 1994            TAG: 9412150362
SECTION: LOCAL                    PAGE: B10  EDITION: FINAL 
DATELINE: FAIRFAX                            LENGTH: Medium:   54 lines


A jury could not decide whether Ralph Shambaugh Jr. carried out a contract assassination, and a judge declared a mistrial on a murder charge Wednesday.

Shambaugh faced a possible death penalty if convicted of killing Northern Virginia builder John Kowalczyk on orders from the victim's former father-in-law. Stanley Hyman allegedly paid Shambaugh $25,000 to carry out the shooting.

Jurors could not agree whether Shambaugh was the gunman, but did agree Shambaugh was involved in the June 10, 1993 killing.

On Tuesday the Fairfax County Circuit Court panel convicted Shambaugh of conspiracy. The panel recommended a sentence of 18 years in prison and a $25,000 fine on that charge. He will be sentenced Jan. 20.

The West Virginia maintenance man was charged with three crimes - murder for hire, conspiracy to commit murder and using a gun to commit the crime.

Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said he will decide later whether to attempt a retrial.

Circuit Judge Richard Jamborsky first told the jury to keep working on a verdict on the other two charges, but then declared the panel of six men and six women deadlocked about 3 p.m.

``I find further deliberations would not be fruitful,'' Jamborsky said.

Earlier Wednesday, Jamborsky rejected a prosecutor's request to give the jury additional instructions about the capital charge. Under Virginia law, jurors do not have to believe Shambaugh actually pulled the trigger in order to convict him of capital murder.

Most of the details about an alleged accomplice, James Alting, were excluded from the two-week trial. Alting, a co-worker of Shambaugh's at the Coolfont Resort in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., was reported missing after Kowalczyk's death. He was found slain last summer in a well on West Virginia property owned by the Shambaugh family.

Horan produced no eyewitnesses during nearly two weeks of testimony, although the police chief in Vienna, where the slaying occurred, placed Shambaugh at the scene.

Computerized phone records tie Shambaugh and Hyman, a McLean millionaire, ``tighter than a knot,'' Horan said in his closing arguments. The records show more than 30 calls between numbers belonging to the two men in the six weeks before the killing. There are no calls after June 10.

Hyman and wife, Jacqueline, died in a murder-suicide pact weeks after the slaying. They proclaimed their innocence in suicide notes.

Shambaugh was at home in Berkeley Springs on the night of the killing, four family members or friends testified. by CNB