After hearing nine days of testimony, the jury in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky began deliberation toward a verdict on Thursday. Even after Judge John Cleland dismissed four charges during the trial, the jurors still had to consider 48 criminal counts against Sandusky, who is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of 15 years. Sequestered during their deliberations, eight of the 12 jurors (and two of four alternates) have ties to Penn State University. The scene of some of the alleged crimes, the Penn State campus sits just 12 miles from the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan III described Sandusky "a serial, predatory pedophile" during the trial and implored the jury in his closing argument to "Find him guilty of everything." In a fiery defense of his client, Joseph Amendola portrayed the 68-year-old Sandusky as the victim of investigators who wanted to "get him hell or high water" as well as accusers with financial motivations.
Shortly after the jury heard closing arguments, there was yet another startling allegation made against Sandusky, who maintains his innocence. A lawyer for Matt Sandusky, an adopted son of the former PSU defensive coach, issued a statement claiming that the 33-year-old was also abused in his youth and had been prepared to testify during the trial.
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"Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone." (via Pete Thamel)
"The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service."
"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families."
Governor Corbett released a statement on the Sandusky guilty verdict.
First, I want to thank the jury for their willingness to serve on such a difficult case. I also want to commend the multiple victims in this case who had the courage to come forward and testify in court, confronting Sandusky, and proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of these reprehensible crimes.
The agents and prosecutors of the Attorney General’s Office, as well as the Pennsylvania State Police, also deserve a great deal of credit for today’s verdict. They pursued every lead, gathering evidence from multiple victims, in order to bring this man to justice.
David Lohr in Bellefonte reports that Sandusky's lawyers are vowing to appeal.
|@ kevcirilli : AG LINDA KELLY: We have to continue to focus on child sexual abuse, to shine light on dark places of the Jerry #Sandusky's of the world.|
According to Anne Danahy of the Centre Daily Times, Joe Amendola said Jerry Sandusky disputed his adopted son Matt's allegations of inappropriate touching. Danahy also tweeted that the jurors decline to be available for comment.
Penn State has released a statement on the Sandusky verdict:
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.
The Board of Trustees and current administration maintain a steadfast commitment to pursuing the truth regarding Mr. Sandusky’s actions. While we cannot change what happened, we can and do accept the responsibility to take action on the societal issue of child sexual abuse—both in our community and beyond. The University is committed to ensuring that our campuses are safe for children and to being a constructive participant in building greater awareness of child sexual abuse and the practical steps that can be undertaken to prevent, report and respond to such abuse.
According to Pete Thamel, Penn State will release a statement on the verdict in five or 10 minutes.
|@ PeteThamelNYT : Crowd goes bonkers when Amendola says it'll be a life sentence for Sandusky.|
|@ sganim : Amendola was heckled when claiming #Sandusky is innocent at the steps of the courthouse|
Pete Thamel tweeted that Joe Amendola also said: "There are lots of people sitting in jails across this country that are innocent."
|@ AnneDanahy : Amendola says "the jury's spoken," but appeals still being considered|
The verdict came fast, much faster than anyone was expecting. People began chanting when they heard "guilty." They chanted, "Justice!" Nobody seemed disappointed.
The verdict of guilty on 45 of 48 charges was greeted by cheers outside of the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa.
Jerry Sandusky is guilty of 45 of the 48 counts against him.
Both Jeffrey Toobin and Sunny Hostin anticipate a guilty verdict. Marcia Clark also anticipates a conviction.
More from David Lohr in Bellefonte:
We won't be able to get the word out quick. The judge issues a memorandum in which no media outlet is allowed to announce the verdict. Any journalist who breaks that rules is going to be subject to sanctions. We aren't sure what those sanctions are.
If they try to arrest me, I'm just going to say I'm Buck Wolf, my editor.
|@ DanWetzel : Sandusky enters court, takes seat at defense table without ever looking at his family|
From HuffPost Crime reporter David Lohr:
Sandusky just got here. The judge is going to call the court into session. Legal analysts tell me this is going to take about an hour. Each juror is going to have to verbally affirm their decision.
When Sandusky was walking in, one guy yelled, "Sandusky you suck!"
I would say there are close to 75 people in front of the courthouse, dozens of media outlets
Some people brought lawn chairs.
There is no electronic transmissions permitted while court is in session and the 48 counts are being addressed. We'll find out at the very end and all at once.
Court will reportedly convene at 9:50 for the verdict to be read.
|@ sganim : There is a verdict #SanduskyTrial|
|@ cnnross : There sure are a lot of tweeps gearing up for a Friday night verdict. Hope the jurors don't disappoint. #hardtotell #Sandusky|
|@ MinkNate : At 8:39 p.m., court announces jury deliberations continue. Smart money is on a Saturday spent in Bellefonte #Sandusky|
|@ cvmikesisak : Court stenographer is in place. Not sure if this is a sign of anything. No updates from court officials yet. #sandusky|
|@ PatriotNews : Pennsylvania attorney general Linda Kelly just arrived at Centre County Courthouse for Sandusky deliberations. #sandusky|
According to Nate Mink of StateCollege.com, Joe Amendola was talking to reporters inside the Centre County Courthouse. Per the report, Amendola said he would "die of a heart attack" if Jerry Sandusky is acquitted.
Judge Cleland reportedly asked to see him afterward.
|@ matthewkemeny : Court email: Jurors will be breaking for dinner from 6:30 to 7:30. #sandusky|
|@ Minemyerchip : Judge asks to see #sandusky attorney Joe Amendola.|
Most recent update comes from Michael Sisak who tweeted that the jurors are ordering dinner and deliberations continue.