Youshock convicted of attempted murder; jury to hear more on other charges 

A San Mateo County jury today found Alexander Youshock guilty of five out of seven felony counts stemming from his attack on Hillsdale High School on Aug. 24, 2009.

The jury is stuck on the remaining two counts, and Judge Stephen Hall will allow attorneys to make a brief second round of closing arguments on Tuesday in an effort to help jurors reach a verdict on those counts.

Youshock was found 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.

The jury of six men and six women remained deadlocked on two other charges: that Youshock attempted to murder campus security guard Jana Torres when he threw a homemade pipe bomb as she advanced on him in the hallway at Hillsdale High, and the charge that he detonated that pipe bomb with the intent to kill.

Earlier today, the jury foreman told the judge that after three and a half days of deliberation, jurors remained deadlocked 10-2 on one count of the attempted murder of Hillsdale High campus security guard Jana Torres, and 9-3 on one count of exploding a destructive device with intent to murder.

On both counts, the majority favored conviction.

The jurors were unable to unanimously determine whether Youshock intended to murder Torres when she ran toward him in a school hallway on the morning of his attack, prompting him to throw a pipe bomb in her direction.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti has argued that Youshock spotted Torres and made the deliberate attempt to kill her by lighting the fuse about an inch from the body of the pipe bomb and throwing it at her.

Defense attorney Jonathan McDougall has argued that schizophrenia prevented Youshock from being able to formulate specific intent, and that the defendant was scarcely aware of his own actions on the morning of the attack and was simply trying to escape.

Torres jumped over the bomb and was not injured when it exploded.

Hall said it was the court's obligation to try to help jurors overcome an impasse in their deliberations and said he would permit the presentation of one 15-minute argument -- focusing on the two remaining charges -- each by the defense and the prosecution.

The arguments are scheduled to be presented at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

This morning, Youshock showed no emotion as the jury handed down guilty verdicts on the five other charges.

A second phase of the trial to determine Youshock's sanity at the time of the attack will begin after proceedings in the current trial have concluded.

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.

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