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UPDATE: Youshock Found Guilty of Attempted Murder

Judge allows further arguments on the remaining two counts over which the jury is deadlocked.

The jury in the trial of Alexander Youshock rendered a partial verdict today, finding him guilty of five out of seven counts — including attempted murder — for his pipe bomb attack at Hillsdale High School on Aug. 24, 2009.

And in a highly unusual move, San Mateo Superior Court Judge Stephen Hall will allow further arguments on the remaining two counts over which the jury is deadlocked. Attorneys on both sides are scheduled to present their arguments on Tuesday morning.

Youshock on Monday 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.

But the jury, after , remained deadlocked on two remaining 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 that he detonated that pipe bomb with the intent to kill. The jury of six men and six women was split 10-2 on one count and 9-3 on the other.

It is rare for a judge to allow further arguments after closing arguments have been made. But Hall and the attorneys in the case – defense attorney Jonathan McDougall and Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti – cited case law showing that it was not unheard of.

“Trial courts have historically tried to shy away from (helping) juries in their search for truth or justice,” Hall said, because it could be seen as coercion by the court. But he added, “It was (the jury foreman) who indicated that further argument might be useful.”

“The bottom line is I am going to permit each side to make one further additional closing argument,” Hall said. “I think the issue certainly can be addressed in a time period not to exceed 15 minutes on either side.”

After the last two verdicts are rendered, a second trial will begin before the same judge and jury to determine Youshock’s sanity.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Candyce Amaya March 29, 2011 at 02:09 AM
This was one of the most terrifying days of my life. My son had only been attending HHS for about a week before this incident. Then I get a call from my child, with yelling and screaming in the background, telling me that he was o.k. but that his school had a bombing and that the kids were being evacuated, was terrifying. I have the upmost sympathy for this child and his family.
Nella March 29, 2011 at 03:38 PM
So this is how it works, you commit a crime, play insanity and get away from this responsability. From this point on, there will be no jails anymore in the future. There will be no bad, crooks, criminals just insane inmates who will be treated on our expenses for a short time and let go free to continue hurting others. Is this justice?
just another concerned parent March 29, 2011 at 08:56 PM
The school system has failed to help Alex Youshock starting many many years ago. They should have flagged this kid as unstable way back in middle school, if not earlier. Even in elementary school, this kid was strange. But the San Mateo-Foster City School District and the San Mateo Union High School District failed to help this kid. He did not get the mental help he so desperately needed years ago. We knew this family when he was a kid. He had a very unstable home life as well. His parents and sister were all messed up, parents separated early on and then divorced, no support system there what so ever. He was very isolated. Red light! Hello!
marandbo April 01, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Why is it that the school districts failed???? I'm sure along the way through elementary and middle schools several teachers and administrators pointed out to the parents that there were some major issues with this child. If you read the testimony from Mr. Jeff Gilbert, prinicipal at HHS, he had discussions with the mom that he saw serious problems with this student. She knew there was some very wrong. Though I cannot imagine what this family is going through now, it is really the family that needed to intervene to get him the help thats he so desperately needed! We have to stop blaming the schools for issues that kids are having. With the resources the schools have, they can only do so much. The attention, help and discipline that kids require needs to start in the home!

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