Most jurors deliberating the sanity of a murder defendant are voting that he did understand right from wrong at the time of the shooting, according to statements made in court on March 15 by Daniel Segura, the public defender representing Brendan Liam O’Rourke.
The jury sent a note to the judge at the end of their first full day of deliberations, saying they feared they were “deadlocked” and unable to come to a unanimous decision. However, judge Aaron Katz polled each juror and found nine of them who were hopeful that further deliberations might be helpful, and so he ordered them all back to the courthouse on March 16 to resume their work.
This same jury found O’Rourke, 42, guilty on March 12 of the attempted murders of seven persons at an elementary school in Carlsbad. The jury deliberated less than an hour when they reached that conclusion. The shooting took place October 8, 2010.
Because O’Rourke is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, in this last part of the trial the burden has shifted onto the defense to prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the defendant understood right from wrong at the time he was shooting his .357 Ruger revolver at children and an adult aide.
Three psychiatrists testified they believed O’Rourke was legally insane, and one psychiatrist said that although O’Rourke had mental illness, he was still capable of understanding that his act was morally and legally wrong.