A day after a San Mateo County jury found Hillsdale High School bomber Alexander Youshock guilty of attempted murder and four other charges related to his August 2009 attack, attorneys made a second round of closing arguments in an effort to help jurors overcome an impasse on two remaining charges.
The jury foreman informed Judge Stephen Hall on Monday that jurors were deadlocked on a second count of attempted murder and one count of exploding a destructive device with the intent to kill.
Hall said he would allow Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti and defense attorney Jonathan McDougall 15 minutes each to present an argument to the jury, specifically addressing the question of whether Youshock intended to kill Hillsdale High security guard Jana Torres when she rushed him in the school hallway on Aug. 24, 2009.
In her statement Tuesday morning, Guidotti reiterated Youshock’s testimony and a statement he made to San Mateo police detectives when “he said he would kill anyone who got in his way” as he carried out his plan to kill three former teachers with 10 homemade bombs, a sword and a chainsaw.
Guidotti said Youshock saw Torres advance as he attempted to start his chainsaw, and threw the bomb with the intent to kill her.
“He threw it at the person who was interfering with his behavior,” Guidotti said.
Youshock lit the fuse within an inch of the body of the bomb, which showed that he intended it to use it to kill, Guidotti said.
“He didn’t want people to have time to get away from it,” she said. “That means you’re intending to kill.”
McDougall, who has argued that Youshock’s diagnosed schizophrenia prevented the defendant from being able to formulate specific intent, referred the jury to Youshock’s videotaped interviews with San Mateo police detectives, in which he repeatedly said he “wasn’t really thinking” and was unaware of anyone in the school hallway when he lit the bomb and tossed it.
“Don’t listen to me, listen to Alexander Youshock,” McDougall said. “There’s nothing that indicates he was lying.”
The jury left the courtroom after Tuesday morning’s statements to continue deliberating on the two remaining charges.
Earlier on Monday, the jury found Youshock guilty of attempting to murder his former chemistry teacher, Meghan Spalding; exploding a destructive device in an act of terrorism; possession of a destructive device in a public place; carrying a concealed dagger; and carrying a concealed explosive.
A second phase of the trial to determine Youshock’s sanity at the time of the attack is tentatively scheduled to begin on Monday, Hall said.
In the sanity phase of the trial, the burden of proof will be with the defense because Youshock is presumed sane, Guidotti said.
Youshock has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all of the charges against him.
He could face life in prison if convicted.