SEARCH

Entries in Jury (35)

Sunday
Jul142013

Jurors in Zimmerman Trial to Remain Anonymous 

Gary W. Green-Pool/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- In the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict everyone was heard from either by news conference, television interview or by tweet - except the jurors.

The identities of the six women who decided that Zimmerman was innocent of murder or manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin were sealed at the start of the racially charged trial. The court and the sheriff reminded the media after the trial that the court order not to reveal their identities is still in effect.

The roll call of the jurors sounds like a moment from a Bingo game - B76, B37, E6, B29, E40 and B51. And during the trial the camera in the courtroom was careful to never show their faces.

There is no indication that the women will explain their verdict in public any time soon.

"Jurors were given packets of letters from the media containing interview requests. They expressed no interest at this time," the court spokeswoman tweeted out Sunday.

The court also tweeted a warning shortly after the verdict was announced, saying, "Any attempt to identify jurors is a violation of the current order."

The warning was bolstered by a release from the Seminole County Sheriff's office reminding the media that the identities of the jurors "remain protected by order of the court."

"Jury has no desire to speak to media," the sheriff's office stated pointedly.

"The media should not, at any time, attempt to video and/or broadcast the jurors, the transport or personal vehicles used, or any locations/venues where the jurors may be staying or visiting.

"Any media currently at locations where they believe jurors could be located should depart the area immediately," the sheriff's office stated.

The women who sat through the nearly month-long trial ranged in age from their early 30s to women in their 60s. Four of the women either have experience with guns or relatives who are gun owners. Two of them share a passion for rescuing animals. Five of them are white and the sixth is a minority, believed to be Hispanic. Five of them were mothers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jul132013

Zimmerman Jury Resumes Deliberation on Saturday Morning

Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- The six female jurors resumed closed door discussions to determine George Zimmerman's fate at a courthouse in Sanford, Fla., on Saturday morning, deciding whether the neighborhood watch volunteer committed a crime when he fatally shot Trayvon Martin.

The jury deliberated for over three hours on Friday before they adjourned at about 6 p.m. Before they left for the evening, the jury requested a list of the evidence presented by both sides. They resumed deliberation promptly at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Zimmerman could be found guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, or he could be acquitted.

The jury is expected to pause deliberations between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday so that the jurors can eat lunch on site.

Zimmerman, whose facial expressions have been emotionless during the trial, appeared to smile in court on Saturday as Judge Debra Nelson spoke to the jurors shortly before instructing them to resume deliberations.

Zimmerman, 29, maintains that he shot Martin, 17, in self-defense on Feb. 26, 2012. If convicted of the most serious charge he could be sentenced to life in prison.

His attorneys told ABC News that he is worried about the prospects about possibly spending the rest of his life behind bars or, if acquitted, a life in hiding. He has spent the last few days huddled with family as he awaits the verdict.

According to ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Analyst, Dan Abrams, the jury is likely to find Zimmerman guilty if they base their decision on emotion, whereas a verdict based on the "letter of the law" is more likely to result in an acquittal.

A verdict, which must be unanimous amongst the six female jurors, could be reached as early as Saturday afternoon.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
May242013

Jodi Arias Jury Foreman: '18 Days of Testimony Hurt Her'

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- The man in charge of the jury that convicted Jodi Arias of murder, but could not reach agreement on whether her life should be spared, described the process as "gut-wrenching" and said he and his fellow jurors struggled to contain their emotions.

"We couldn't allow ourselves to be emotional on the stand," jury foreman William Zervakos said Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America. "We couldn't allow ourselves to show emotion [but] it was a different story when we got back into the jury room."

Some of the most emotional moments during the five-month trial came over the 18 days when Arias, 32, took the stand and described her relationship with Travis Alexander, the ex-boyfriend whom she was convicted last week of stabbing and shooting to death in 2008.

Arias pled for her life also during the sentencing phase of the trial, but Zervakos says her long stint on the stand didn't help her case, especially when she was cross-examined by the prosecutor.

"I think 18 days hurt her. I think she was not a good witness...I think the way the prosecutor was with her, he's known for an aggressive style. I think it'd be difficult for anybody," Zervakos said. "I don't think I want to sit on the stand for 18 days."

"We're charged with going in presuming innocence, right, but she was on the stand for so long. I don't think it did her any good," Zervakos added. "There were so many contradicting stories."

Arias had been branded a liar by the prosecution because she initially denied killing Alexander, then claimed two years later that she killed him in self-defense, citing Alexander's physical and emotional abuse.

Zervakos, for one, believed Arias' story that she was abused in the relationship, but not that she killed Alexander in self-defense.

"I'm very sure in my own mind that she was mentally and verbally abused," he said. "Now is that an excuse? Of course not. Does it factor into the decisions that we make? It has to."

Arias' appearance -- from her blonde bombshell look while she was dating Alexander, to the more subdued look she presented in the courtroom with glasses, bangs and dark hair -- that captivated the media and the public throughout the trial, seemed to captivate the jurors inside the courtroom as well.

"When I looked in the courtroom for the first time and looked who the defendant was, it's hard to put that in perspective when you look at a young woman and think of the crime and then think of the brutality of the crime," Zervakos said. "It just doesn't wash so it's very difficult to divest yourself from the personal, from the emotional part of it."

After the jury's hung verdict was read Thursday, leaving the case still open, one juror mouthed, "I'm so sorry," toward Alexander's family and prosecutors.

Zervakos says he and other jurors struggled greatly with seeing Alexander's family every day in the courtroom.

"Until you're face-to-face with people that have gone through something like that, it's something you really can't put into words," he said on GMA. "I'm six feet away from somebody talking about a horrendous loss. If you can't feel that, then you have no emotion, no soul."

Arias' fate is now left up to the prosecutor, who will decide whether to retry the penalty phase. If he decides to try again for the death penalty, a new jury will be selected and both the prosecution and defense will present evidence and arguments over what sentence Arias should receive.

The retrial, in which Arias can either be sentenced to death or to life in prison, with or without the possibility of parole, would begin July 18.

The prosecutor's office has not yet decided what it plans to do.

 

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar072013

Jodi Arias Makes Final Plea to Jury to Believe Her in Murder Trial

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- Accused murderer Jodi Arias made a dramatic final plea to the jury in her murder trial Thursday, asking them to believe her.

"Why should anyone believe you now? That is the ultimate question, Jodi. Why should we believe you now?" attorney Kirk Nurmi asked Arias in his final question to her during the trial.

Arias, 32, spent two days answering questions from the jury that showed skepticism among jurors, one of whom asked her outright why the jury should believe what she says on the stand after she admitted to so many lies. Arias could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008.

During Nurmi's follow-up questions, Arias turned in her seat to face the jury and speak to them directly.

"Like I said before, I lied a lot. Each of those lies tied back to two things: protecting his ego, no, his reputation, and my own, and second, relating to any involvement in his death," she said.

Arias then paused dramatically.

"I understand that there will always be questions, but all I can do, at this point, is say what happened to the best of my recollection. If I'm convicted, that's because of my own bad choices," she said as prosecutor Juan Martinez objected loudly.

It was the final statement Arias will make to the jurors, who submitted more than 100 questions of their own to Arias about the alleged murder. Martinez will finish his follow-up questions when the trial resumes Wednesday, March 13.

Arias is facing charges for killing Alexander during what she claims was a violent argument at his home in Mesa, Ariz., on June 4, 2008. She has claimed she killed him in self-defense.

The prosecution claims she killed Alexander out of jealousy and then lied about it to protect herself.

"You claim everything happened so fast you didn't have time to think, so how could you think of grabbing a gun?" asked another.

The questions were the final look into how the jurors may view the case against Arias, who is charged with first-degree murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Arizona is one of only three states that allow jurors to ask questions of witnesses. As Arias answered the original 100 questions they submitted, jurors quickly scribbled 14 more that they submitted to Judge Sherry Stephens.

The questions focused on Arias' lies and her claim that she could not remember killing Alexander.

"Were you mad at Travis while you were stabbing him? Why did you take the rope and gun with you? Why didn't you call 911?" they asked.

"Did you ever see a doctor for your memory issues? Have you ever taken medication for your memory issue? How is it you remember so many of your sexual encounters, including your ex-boyfriends, but you do not remember stabbing Travis and dragging his body?"

"Well," Arias answered from the stand, "as far as what happened on June 4, I don't know how the mind works necessarily, but I know that was the most traumatic experience of my life."

The jury is made up of 18 adults, 11 men and seven women, who have sat through more than 30 days of testimony so far in the case. Before going into deliberations, the jury will be whittled to 12, and alternates will be dismissed.

According to her testimony, Arias and Alexander dated for a year, and then slept together for another year after breaking up, from 2006 to 2008. During that time, she alleges that he grew sexually abusive and physically violent after she found out he was sexually attracted to young boys.

She killed Alexander after traveling to his Arizona home from where she was living in California. They had sex and took nude photos of each other that same day. Arias claims Alexander exploded in a rage when she dropped his camera while photographing him taking a shower. She testified that he slammed her to the floor and she ran to a closet where she grabbed a gun he had, but the gun fired as he charged into her.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep072012

Drew Peterson Jury Says Hearsay Convinced Them to Convict

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(JOLIET, Ill.) -- Eleven members of the Drew Peterson jury were convinced by the end of the first day of deliberations that the former cop had murdered his wife, despite the absence of physical evidence or eyewitnesses tying him to the crime.

According to Eduardo Saldana, the foreman of the Joliet, Ill., jury that convicted Peterson on Thursday of first-degree murder, the group quickly coalesced around the idea that Kathleen Savio was murdered.

"When the deliberations began, we first talked about what the doctors had to say, and we pretty much all agreed that it was a homicide. We did not think the death was accidental. After that it was just getting things right," Saldana, 22, told reporters at a juror press conference Friday.

The case revolved around the fact the Savio's 2004 death was initially categorized as accidental after she was found dead in her bathtub. It was only in 2007, when Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, mysteriously disappeared, that police exhumed Savio's body and reexamined it. Forensic experts changed their findings to death by homicide and police charged Peterson. He has not been charged in the case of Stacy, who is still missing.

Juror Teresa Mathews said that the jury had their own theories about how Peterson might have killed Savio, though they said they would never know for sure.

"We have some theories about how it could have happened. She was grabbed from behind, and could have possibly stuck her head [on the] bathroom sink and got that big gash on the back of her head," Mathews said.

The jurors said that the most convincing testimony was hearsay statements allowed into evidence under a new law, known as "Drew's Law," named after Peterson. Prosecutors successfully fought to have statements made by Stacy Peterson and Savio to acquaintances admitted into evidence.

Drew and Stacy Peterson had begun dating and were living together at the time of Savio's death in 2004, while Savio and Drew were divorcing. Stacy made statements to her pastor and, later, to a divorce attorney about Drew's behavior the weekend Savio died.

It was the testimony of Stacy Peterson's pastor, Rev. Neil Schori, and her divorce attorney, Harry Smith, that was most important to the jury, Saldana said. Stacy Peterson told Schori that she woke up in the middle of the night and could not find Drew, and that he later showed up near the washing machine in their home, with women's clothing.

"When Stacy couldn't find him, and he showed up by the washing machine with women's clothing and told her she was going to be interviewed by police, that was kind of key evidence," Mathews said.

"One thing Drew said when he was going up the stairs [that night] was, 'they're going to think I did it.' That kind of confirmed it for us," Saldana added.

"The hearsay was the biggest part about this," Saldana said. "Neil Schori opened things up, but the lawyer's testimony was the thing that got us the most."

Saldana also said that the jury was distrustful of the police officers who initially investigated Savio's death and ruled that it was an accident. Drew Peterson was a Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant at the time of Savio's death.

"We thought any death should be investigated fully, that they should take their time. From the testimony, it was 10, 20 minutes that [the death investigator] was at the scene before he left, and we felt that was really wrong," Saldana said.

Mathews said that when the jury first began deliberations, seven people were convinced of Peterson's guilt, four jurors thought he was not guilty, and one was undecided. They said the disagreements mainly revolved around how to treat the hearsay statements. The group then asked the judge to have the hearsay testimony reread to them.

Mathews also took credit for the jurors' decision to wear coordinated outfits for much of the trial.

"There was no message. Just one day I said, 'hey do you want to wear blue tomorrow?'" Mathews said, laughing. "We spent a lot of time together and got along well, and we spent more time in the jury room than the court room, so we just would talk about what we wanted to wear and got the judge's all clear."

"We were bored," Saldana added.

The jury reached their guilty verdict after two days of deliberations, following six weeks of testimony in the case against the former Illinois cop.

A third juror, Jeremy Massduy, also appeared at the press conference. He said that jurors had some knowledge of the Stacy Peterson case, even though lawyers were barred from mentioning it during the trial.

"We judged (him) based on evidence presented during case," Massduy said.

One alternate juror, Patricia Timkey, attended the conference. She said that if she had been in the deliberation room, she would have voted to convict Peterson as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Jury to Begin Deliberations in Drew Peterson Murder Trial

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(JOLIET, Ill.) -- The fate of former Illinois cop Drew Peterson will go to the jury in Joliet, Ill., Wednesday morning, after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments Tuesday. Peterson is accused of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Defense attorney Joe Lopez pleaded with the jury during his statement to remember that there is no physical evidence tying Peterson to the scene of his wife's death in 2004.

Savio's death was initially ruled an accident after she was found dead in her bathtub. After Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared without a trace in 2007, however, police exhumed Savio's body and reexamined it as part of the Stacy Peterson investigation. They then changed the cause of death to homicide and charged Drew Peterson.

He has denied any involvement in Savio's death, and prosecutors admit there is no physical evidence connecting him to the scene of the crime. He has never been charged in connection with Stacy's disappearance.

Prosecutors Tuesday reminded the jury that a witness called by the defense admitted that the chance of a healthy adult drowning in a bathtub was "one in a million."

Forensic pathologists testified for both sides about Savio's injuries; experts for the prosecution said that her injuries pointed to homicide, while those for the defense said they indicated an accidental fall in the bathtub.

The jurors, who have arrived in court in matching outfits on many days of the trial, did not coordinate their clothing Tuesday.

Judge Edward Burmila recessed court Tuesday following closing arguments and said he planned to instruct and charge the jury beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Peterson's attorneys said before court Tuesday morning that Peterson is ready, whatever the jury may decide.

"He's a bit anxious but prepared emotionally for whatever happens," attorney Joel Brodsky said.

Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant, faces 60 years in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun232012

Jerry Sandusky Trial Did Not Include All of His Alleged Victims

Booking photo(NEW YORK) -- The fate of Jerry Sandusky ended with a guilty verdict Friday night in Bellefonte, Pa.

Following 20 hours of sequestered deliberations, the jury of seven women and five men read 45 "guilty" verdicts as Sandusky stood and looked at the jury. There were three not-guilty verdicts.

After court was adjourned, the former Penn State defensive coordinator was led in handcuffs to a police car to be taken to the local county jail. He faces a maximum sentence of 442 years and will be sentenced in approximately 90 days.

"The legal process has spoken and we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. No verdict can undo the pain and suffering caused by Mr. Sandusky, but we do hope this judgment helps the victims and their families along their path to healing," Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in a statement.

Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, said the defense plans to appeal the guilty verdicts, arguing it was not prepared to go to trial as soon as the judge ordered.

"The Sandusky family is very disappointed, obviously, by the verdict of the jury but we respect their verdict," he said. "We had a tidal wave of public opinion against Jerry Sandusky."

While Sandusky likely will be sentenced to life in prison, waiting in the wings of the sex abuse case are a group of men who say that they, too, were abused by the former Penn State football coach.

"Other victims have come forward after the grand jury presentment in this case, and we intend to continue to look into those matters," Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said.

The men said they would have testified in a new case if Sandusky was acquitted on Friday.

An attorney for two men who say they were abused by Sandusky told ABC News that "more than a few" new accusers were ready to testify.

"The state and federal authorities have investigated. He has not been charged, but he could be charged (with these crimes)," said attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who represents two new accusers. One of Anderson's clients, Travis Weaver, spoke publicly about the abuse for the first time this week.

"Travis came forward after the original eight, and since that time Travis is one of several to have come forward to report similar rape and abuse," the lawyer said.

Weaver and the other men came forward to police after Sandusky's arrest in November, but were left off the current case because of Sandusky's right to a speedy trial, Anderson said.

"He is not the only one, and I am working with and know of more than a few," Anderson said. "Time wouldn't allow (for them to be included)."

Weaver told NBC this week that Sandusky took him to the Penn State football locker rooms, where he showered with him, rubbed his back and blew on his stomach, acts that eventually progressed to oral sex and attempted rape. He filed a lawsuit against Penn State University and the Second Mile foundation, the charity that Sandusky helped create, last year.

Ben Andreozzi, an attorney representing the man known as Victim 4 in the current case, also represents two other accusers whom he said have spoken to authorities.

Weaver and the other alleged victim represented by Anderson have also informed federal investigators about their claims, as part of a federal investigation into whether Sandusky molested boys outside of Pennsylvania, which would rise to the level of a federal crime.

Weaver said in his lawsuit that he was molested outside of Pennsylvania while accompanying Sandusky on trips to bowl games with the Penn State football team.

In addition, Sandusky's adopted son Matt told prosecutors in recent days that he was also molested by the man who adopted him and is willing to testify against him. It's not clear whether he would press charges, however.

And an analysis of the timeline of the eight men who are involved in the current trial shows that Sandusky was allegedly involved with several boys for most of 15 years, but the indictment does not include any victims from February 2001 through 2003.

Experts say that there are two possibilities for that apparent gap: that Sandusky stopped molesting boys for a period of time, or, more likely, that there are more victims of Sandusky's abuse who have not come forward or been identified by police.

"My bet would be that there would be more victims out there," said John Seryak of the organization Stop Educator Sexual Abuse and Misconduct. "If he was still very active in his organization The Second Mile, his access to children would be immediate. He obviously is a super skilled predator. It would be surprising that he wouldn't act or spend that whole time grooming."

For Sandusky, this could have led to a hiatus in his behavior that then could have resumed around 2004, according to Ken Singer, a social worker who treats pedophiles and a past president of Male Survivor, a network for survivors of sexual abuse.

"I've worked with offenders who have recidivated after a number of years," Singer said. "It's not that the desires or the impulses are not there but the degree of control, which could be anything from a spouse keeping a good watch on him that keeps him from acting on impulse, it could be disgust with self and promises not to do this again, but then they hit a situation where they go back to other behavior."

Singer compared the behavior to that of an alcoholic.

"It's similar to an alcoholic that has been drinking for years then stops because of internal conditions, he's sick of drinking or whatever, finds sobriety, goes to AA, doesn't drink again for a number of years but then falls off the wagon and resumes his former lifestyle," Singer said.

While it is possible that Sandusky did stop for the years 2001 to 2004, Seryak said that it is unlikely. Pedophiles, he explained, can rarely control their impulses.

"If somebody was scared straight, he would want to disassociate from the organization," Seryak said. "That's not to say that when there was a report made in 2001 that it wasn't some sort of a wake-up call, but child molesters never really get wake up calls. There is strong evidence that they can't be rehabilitated."

"Make no mistake about it," he said. "These predators have a compulsiveness that's extraordinary, beyond what any of us could ever imagine."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun192012

Jurors Convict Accused Ringleader in Teen Burning Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- Jurors in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday evening convicted 17-year-old Matthew Bent of aggravated battery for his role in the 2009 torching of Michael Brewer, his middle school classmate.

Prosecutors failed to secure a conviction on Bent's second-degree attempted murder charge. Bent would have faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted on that charge. The maximum sentence for aggravated battery is 15 years.

After three days of testimony from Brewer, his parents and several other boys who'd witnessed the attack, a six-person jury in the Broward County Courthouse began deliberations Monday afternoon, but adjourned after three hours without a verdict. Tuesday's deliberations were delayed when jurors said they could not understand what was being said in an audio recording of a conversation between Bent and his alleged accomplices taped by police following their arrest.

At noon on Tuesday, the jury sent a note to Broward County Judge Michael Robinson asking for a transcript of the recording, but Robinson replied that no transcript was available.

Prosecutors argued that Bent was trying to avoid responsibility for the violence by offering others money to hurt Brewer, who was 15 at the time. But defense attorneys claimed that Bent never intended the attack, calling the case an example of "prosecution overkill."

Robinson will sentence Bent on July 23. The prosecution will seek the maximum sentence, and the defense has requested a pre-sentencing investigation.

On Oct. 12, 2009, Bent and two boys, all 15 at the time, surrounded Michael Brewer, their middle school classmate, near an apartment complex in Deerfield Beach, Fla. One boy poured rubbing alcohol on Brewer, and another flicked a lighter, setting Brewer ablaze.

Brewer survived the attack by jumping into a nearby pool, but not before second- and third-degree burns covered nearly two-thirds of his body.

While Bent played no physical role in the attack, the prosecution accused him of orchestrating it in pursuit of cold-blooded revenge against Brewer. In closing arguments, Assistant State Attorney Maria Schneider stressed to the jury the disputes between Bent and Brewer in the day leading up to the attack.

The previous day, Brewer's parents reported Bent to the police for allegedly attempting to steal a family bicycle. Brewer said he stayed home from school on Oct. 12 fearing possible retaliation by Bent, who he testified Thursday was targeting him because he refused to buy drug paraphernalia from Bent.

Denver Jarvis, 17, who is serving eight years in prison for pouring the alcohol on Brewer, testified Wednesday that Bent offered him $5 to do so, Schneider reminded jurors. Other witnesses testified that Bent had offered money to anyone who would beat up Brewer.

Bent's attorneys rested their case Monday morning without calling a single witness and told the court that Bent would not testify in his own defense.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Johnny McCray said Bent "will have scars for the rest of his life" because of the trial, and argued that convicting an "innocent child" would not bring justice for Brewer.

Defense attorney Perry Thurston called the allegation of Bent's offer a fabrication on Friday. The attack happened spontaneously after the boys chanced upon a jug of rubbing alcohol on the street, he said.

Brewer has undergone extensive skin graft surgery and physical therapy since he was attacked. His mother Valerie Brewer testified that her son still requires therapy in order to keep his muscles flexible enough for routine functions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun182012

Teen Burning Jurors Begin Deliberating in Florida

Hemera/Thinkstock(DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.) -- Jurors began deliberating Monday in the trial of a Florida teen accused of planning the torching of his middle-school classmate after the prosecution urged them not to let him "get away with letting other people do his dirty work for him."

In her closing argument, prosecutor Maria Schneider told jurors Monday that Matthew Bent, 17, on trial for second-degree attempted murder, was trying to avoid responsibility when he offered money for the 2009 attack in which Michael Brewer was soaked with rubbing alcohol and then set on fire.

"Matthew Bent was the reason why this crime happened," Schneider said. "He was offering people money to beat Michael, not to scare Michael."

Bent faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

On Oct. 12, 2009, Bent and two other teens confronted Brewer, who was 15 at the time, near an apartment complex after their middle school let out in Deerfield Beach, Fla. One boy doused Brewer with rubbing alcohol and another flicked a lighter, setting Brewer ablaze.

Brewer survived the attack by jumping into a nearby pool, but not before second- and third-degree burns covered nearly two-thirds of his body.

Schneider stressed to the six-person jury the disputes between Bent and Brewer prior to the attack.

Brewer testified Thursday that Bent targeted him because he refused to buy drug paraphernalia from Bent. And the day before the attack, Brewer's parents reported Bent to the police for allegedly attempting to steal a family bicycle. Brewer said he stayed home from school on Oct. 12, fearing possible retaliation by Bent.

The bad blood between Brewer and Bent reveal revenge as a clear motive for Bent to plan the attack on Brewer, Schneider argued.

Denver Jarvis, 17, is serving eight years in prison and Jesus Mendez, 18, was sentenced to 11 years for their roles in the attack. Jarvis poured the rubbing alcohol on Brewer and Mendez flicked a lighter, setting Brewer ablaze.

Bent's attorneys rested their case Monday morning after informing the court that Bent would not testify in his own defense and without calling a single witness.

Defense attorney Perry Thurston called the allegation of Bent's offer a fabrication on Friday. The attack happened spontaneously after the boys chanced upon a jug of rubbing alcohol on the street, he said.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Johnny McCray said Bent "will have scars for the rest of his life" because of the trial, and argued that convicting an "innocent child" would not bring justice for Brewer.

"This is prosecution overkill," Thurston said.

Brewer has undergone extensive skin graft surgery and physical therapy since he was attacked. His mother Valerie Brewer testified that her son still requires therapy in order to keep his muscles flexible enough for routine functions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun052012

Jerry Sandusky Allegedly Wrote 'Creepy' Love Letters to Victim

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(CENTRE COUNTY, Pa.) -- On the first day of jury selection in the child molestation trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, ABC News has learned that Sandusky allegedly wrote "creepy" love letters to at least one of his victims, eight of whom are set to testify against him.

Intimate love letters allegedly written from Sandusky to the accuser, known as Victim 4, will be read into testimony after the trial begins on Monday, sources close to the case told ABC News. Victim 4, who is expected to be the first witness called to testify against Sandusky, will also show the gifts, including a set of golf clubs, that Sandusky allegedly gave him during their relationship.

The letters, which were allegedly written in Sandusky's own handwriting, are expected to corroborate the testimony of the man known as Victim 4, now 28 years old, who met the coach through Sandusky's charity, the Second Mile. The victim's attorney won't talk about the letter, but sources describe the letters as "creepy" and note that one was a story written in the third person.

Ben Andreozzi, the alleged victim's attorney, did say, "They have evidence to support his allegations, and there's other evidence that has not been released to the public yet that I think will really resonate with the jury."

The revelations come on the first day of jury selection in the trial in which Sandusky faces 52 counts of child molestation charges. In addition to Victim 4, seven other alleged victims are expected to testify against the former defensive coordinator during the three-week trial beginning Monday.

In the grand jury presentment released at the time of Sandusky's arrest, Victim 4 was described as a victim of sexual abuse by Sandusky, abuse that included rape and oral sex in the hotels where the Penn State football team stayed. Victim 4 was allegedly molested while on trips with Sandusky and the football team to bowl games in Arizona and Texas, crimes that may result in federal prosecution.

Victim 4 was one of five alleged victims who petitioned Judge John Cleland to keep their identities anonymous during the trial, continuing a practice put in place by the state attorney general's office to protect their identities during the investigation. But Cleland denied their request, saying that all of the victims who were willing to testify must be willing to be revealed to the public.

Lawyers for the prosecution and the defense, as well as Cleland, interviewed dozens of Centre County, Pa., residents Tuesday to whittle the juror selection pool down and agree on a jury; by the end of the day, they had selected six jurors for the trial.

Defense attorneys also disclosed Tuesday that they had a potential witness list of more than 100 people, while the prosecution had a list of more than 50 potential witnesses. The lists included the widow and son of former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, Sue and Jay Paterno, as well as the former head of Penn State University, Graham Spanier.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio