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.