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A civil jury found the city of Philadelphia not responsible yesterday for the murder of graduate student Shannon Schieber, after more than 11 hours of deliberation that spanned three days.

Sylvester and Vicki Schieber filed the $3.8 million lawsuit against the city in 1998, shortly after their daughter, a 23-year-old Wharton doctoral student, was raped and murdered in her apartment by Troy Graves. The trial, which lasted eight days, began on Feb. 11.

The suit alleged that city and police officials should have been more aware of a pattern of rapes in the area and that two officers should have forcibly entered Schieber's apartment the night of her murder after a neighbor called 911.

The Schieber family originally named the two police officers on duty at the time of the incident in the lawsuit, but a judge dismissed the claims against them last year, long before the trial began.

The family alleged that the police routinely misclassified rape cases, allowing Graves -- known before he was captured as the "Center City rapist" -- to escape scrutiny, despite being stopped by a police officer months before Schieber's murder.

As a result of this practice, the family said, Schieber's constitutional rights were violated.

However, the jury found that the city did not intentionally discriminate against women by doing this -- which would have violated the victim's 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

The finding, announced by the 12-member jury at 12:04 p.m., also said that the misclassification of these investigations neither increased the likelihood nor resulted in the rape and murder of Schieber.

The two officers on duty at the time testified during the trial and said that even if they had known more about the pattern of rapes in the area, they still would not have broken down Schieber's door. The neighbor, they said, was not certain enough about what he had heard in the apartment to merit forcible entry.

Schieber family attorney and Penn Law professor David Rudovsky said that he was disappointed with the verdict.

"We thought we had proven our case, but the jury disagreed," he said.

Rudovsky also said that the Schiebers have no plans to appeal the verdict.

Though the city's attorneys were pleased with the result, they did not wish to diminish the severity of the crime.

"We still feel for this family. We know they were devastated by their daughter's death," said Divisional Deputy City Solicitor Jeffrey M. Scott, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Scott is one of the three lawyers representing the city in this case.

According to the Inquirer, Chief Deputy City Solicitor Shelley R. Smith said that the verdict "really vindicated the Police Department. They have taken a real beating over this issue."

Graves is currently serving a life sentence in jail for the murder and rape of Schieber and the rape of several other women. He was captured in Colorado in 2002.

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