No verdict in Spanier trial; jury deliberations to continue into Friday

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than six hours of deliberations Thursday were not enough for a jury to reach a verdict in the case of former Penn State President Graham Spanier. Court adjourned for the night shortly after 8 p.m., with the jury set to return Friday morning at 9 a.m. to continue deliberations.

Twice the seven-woman, five-man jury returned to the Judge John Boccabella's courtroom Thursday evening to ask questions. They asked multiple questions about the definition of "conspiracy." Another time, they asked the judge for a definition of "supervisor," as it related to Spanier's role as Penn State University President in 2001, when Jerry Sandusky was caught sexually abusing a young boy in a locker room shower.

Spanier was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of children, and one count of conspiracy to commit child endangerment.

Earlier Thursday morning, Spanier's defense team rested after not calling any witnesses.

"There was no evidence of a crime committed by Graham Spanier," said his attorney, Sam Silver, at the start of his closing argument.

Silver's central argument is Spanier and his two colleagues, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, made the decision to not alert authorities to Sandusky's possible transgressions because they did not believe the actions in question were sexual by nature.

Curley and Schultz, who pleaded guilty last week to child endangerment misdemeanors in exchange for their testimony, said former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno thought Sandusky was engaging in "horseplay."

"The one thing witnesses were certain about is that no one told Graham (Spanier) that Jerry Sandusky was engaging in sexual conduct with minors," Silver said. "Her witnesses made our best case."

Laura Ditka, the state's Chief Deputy Attorney General, implored jurors to use "common sense" when thinking about what Mike McQueary saw when he spotted Sandusky in a Penn State locker room shower with a young boy in February 2001.

Ditka said anyone with a brain could deduce that Sandusky wasn't horsing around when he brought the boy into the Lasch Football Building after hours.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse in 2012 and it serving 30 to 60 years in prison.

One of his victims, a 28 year old "John Doe," testified for prosecutors this week that he was sexually abused in the Lasch Building showers in the summer of 2002. Ditka argued he would have never been abused had Spanier done more to stop Sandusky the year before.

For most of Ditka's closing argument, the prosecution showed jurors a picture of "John Doe," when he was a Second Mile child, standing next to Sandusky.

"That is the face they closed their eyes to," Ditka said of Spanier, Curley, and Schultz.

She described Sandusky as an animal, who the school allowed to run wild on campus because he wasn't reported the Department of Public Welfare when McQueary told Curley and Schultz about what he saw in February 2001, despite knowing of a similar report in 1998 which was investigated by authorities and no charges were filed.

"The lore of Penn State football is strong," Ditka said.

Silver argued the decision to use one of Sandusky's victims as a witness was a distraction, meant to mislead the jury.

"This case is not about whether Jerry Sandusky is guilty of child abuse," Silver said. "The testimony of his victims is not an issue in this case."

Jurors must decide if Spanier knowingly violated the care of children on campus, and if he intentionally or recklessly interfered with the making of a child abuse report.

Senior Judge John Boccabella instructed the jury of the charges around 1 p.m., and left the courtroom to deliberate at 1:45 p.m.

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