The Verdict Is In

by Margo Howard | June 13, 2009

Click here for Margo Howard's Week One coverage of the Clark Rockefeller case.

Click here for her coverage of the first two days of Week Two.

Click here for the last two days of Week Two.

And click here for coverage of Week Three.

Coming into today, the defense had high hopes for victory. In addition to the jury’s taking its sweet time with the verdict, during day three of deliberations, it also sent up a question for clarification. The jury asked for the exact definition of criminal responsibility. The answer the judge provided placed the bar higher for a guilty charge in that the jury would need to find that Grock appreciated both the criminality of his conduct and the wrongfulness.

But, as it turns out, the defense team’s hope was misplaced. “The kids” came back with the verdict this morning, after nearly five days:

Count 1: Guilty of offenses charged (kidnapping and criminal responsibility).

The insanity defense didn’t work.

Count 2: Guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. (This would be telling the driver to “go go go!” with Yaffe hanging on the car.) This is considered a violent felony.

Count 3: Not guilty of assault and battery. (This would be pushing Yaffe to the ground.)

Count 4: Not guilty of the false name charge.

It is interesting that the deal Grock turned down before the trial started would have meant only another seven months in jail, but … he also would have been slapped with five years probation, a fine of several thousand dollars, and the inability to profit from any retelling of the tale. The maximum sentence for the guilty charge without the plea could’ve been 15 years.

Well, he’s not going to do quite that much time. The judge imposed four-to-five years for the kidnapping, and two-to-three years for the assault with a dangerous weapon. Time already done (314 days) will be factored in, the sentences to be served concurrently. Grock will reside in what is known as one of the toughest state prisons, Cedar Junction, formerly known as Walpole.

His future certainly doesn’t look bright. Wherever he lands, and for however long, there’s a strong possibility that all his gold coins will be gone, and … the likely place of landing will be Germany. Immigration officials are lingering in the wings with “a hold” on him, because of the admitted--and provable--green card marriage. There is also California, which, unknown to “the kids,” may indict him for the double murders of his landlords in California some years ago. These would be the landlords who disappeared from the face of the earth and whose truck he sold. One set of bones was discovered buried on the property, but because this man was adopted, there is no DNA test possible for identity. The wife’s body has never been found.

I share with you a funny moment from last week, when I rode in an elevator with David Deakin, the DA. He laughed that if he lost this one, he would be calling Marcia Clark and inviting her for a cup of coffee. Now he can save the two bucks.

Margo Howard writes "Dear Margo" for wowowow.com and Creators Syndicate.

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Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/politics/the-verdict