Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty of 45 of the 48 charges of sexual abuse levied against him. At sentencing, he will face over 400 years in prison. So, unless he’s a sparkling Twilight vampire, he’s in big trouble.
Even as the news broke that Jerry Sandusky’s own attorney said he would “have a heart attack” if his client was acquitted of all charges, the jury has reached their decision in a case that should be lauded as an example of how fast the justice system can work when it wants to. After just 48 hours of deliberation, the jury has returned a verdict. The judge forbid anyone to communicate the verdict to anyone outside of the courtroom until a verdict was returned on each of the 48 counts of sexual abuse charges levied against Sandusky are read. The jury consisted of seven women and five men who heard the evidence and testimony after the past week and a half. They were faced with a difficult task. They are all from the community where Sandusky was seen as a hero for years thanks to his affiliation with Pennsylvania State University’s legendary Joe Paterno. Joe was fired from his longtime job as head football coach amid the allegations that he didn’t do enough when confronted with accounts of Jerry Sandusky’s transgressions. He died from cancer just weeks later in an epic fall from grace. Now, these men and women from that very community were tasked with returning a verdict for the Sandusky trial. It was released by the media that all of the people on the jury had some ties to Penn State in some form another. Public opinion was heavily stacked against Sandusky due to the mountain of witnesses claiming to have been abused. These eventually included his adopted son, although this fact did not come to light until the case had already been turned over to the jury. However, many parties were concerned that the jury might return a not guilty verdict simply to protect their community and the university with whom they are all affiliated in some way or another.
The jury did request to hear some of the testimony again, namely that of Mike McQueary, the assistant coach that testified to viewing Sandusky in the middle of a sexual abuse act in the showers at Penn State. This was by far the most damning testimony, and apparently the jury wanted to hear it again before arriving at their final decision. That decision was announced around 8:45 P.M. on Friday night. Leading up to the verdict announcement, Sandusky and his family had been praying and hoping for the best, even as their lawyers expressed their doubt in the case. Damage control, anyone? This case looked ugly from the beginning, and it only got uglier as more allegedly abused individuals took the stand to testify of the graphic details of Sandusky’s betrayal.
When the smoke clears, it seems that the jury abandoned their community ties (or embraced them, depending on how you look at it) to do the right thing and put Mr. Sandusky behind bars for the rest of his life. If he’s lucky. If the inmates aren’t running the asylum.