Within just a few hours of receiving their instructions, the jury in the case of People vs. Tyler James Hutchinson found the defendant guilty on all charges, including first degree murder in the killing of Belmont resident Albert Korn.
The verdict was read at 10:45 Thursday morning in Courtroom 2H of San Mateo County Superior Court.
The victim's wife, Gabriele Korn, and her friend Linda Chickering arrived in the courtroom just moments before Judge Mark Forcum's clerk read the verdicts.
Assistant district attorney Morris Maya and defense attorney James Thompson wrapped up their closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. The jury deliberated from 3:10 to 4:30 Wednesday without verdicts or questions.
They reconvened Thursday morning at 9:00am and by 10:25 a.m. announced they had reached a verdict.
The clerk read the guilty verdicts on all of the individual charges, beginning with murder in the first degree. The defense then requested the jury members be polled individually on their verdicts, so Judge Forcum asked each jury if their guilty verdict was true on each count: murder in the first degree, murder with special circumstances, causing great bodily injury, and robbery and burglary.
Each juror answered “yes.”
The judge thanked the jury for their service.
“I believe I’ve achieved the goal of this court, which is to have a fair trial,” said Forcum as he dismissed the jury.
At the conclusion of the trial the jurors gathered in the hallway outside of the courtroom to hug each other and Gabriele Korn, Albert Korn’s widow.
“We did this for you and your husband,” one juror told a tearful Mrs. Korn.
“You are very brave,” he added.
Mrs. Korn graciously received the embraces and kind words from the jurors, the prosecuting attorney and Belmont police officers.
“After almost four years, I’m glad this is over. It doesn’t bring back a husband, father and grandfather, but hopefully Tyler Hutchinson won’t be able to do this to anyone ever again,” said Mrs. Korn.
She added that she wanted to thank the community of Belmont, specifically her neighbors in the Hallmark neighborhood for their support over the years since the crime was committed.
Gabriele Korn attended the two-week trial, enduring painful testimony from first responders, police detectives, crime lab technicians, emergency personnel and doctors who described the injuries her husband sustained at the hands of Tyler James Hutchinson.
Hutchinson broke into the Korn’s home through a hallway window on June 2, 2009. When confronted by 88-year-old Albert Korn, Hutchinson beat him so severely that he caused brain damage, from which Korn died on June 17, 2009.
Assistant district attorney Morris Maya was pleased with the verdict and was appreciative of the collaborative efforts of the prosecution team and the jury.
“It’s nice to know we were well represented by a jury,” Maya said.
“I am totally appreciative of the work the jury put into this case and I believe the correct verdict was handed down.”
He added, “It was a privilege to represent the people of California on this case, and was pleased that the jury helped get justice for the Korn family.”
Defense attorney James Thompson was not available for comment.
Juror Janet Fousto said the amount of information the jury received during the trial helped in their deliberations. She added that she was pleased they reached a verdict so quickly.
“I thought we’d even reach a verdict yesterday,” said Fousto.
“But we went home to sleep on it and came back to day and had to review the judges instructions on one particular charge---but after that we had our unanimous verdict.”
Sgt. Peter Lotti of the Belmont Police Department was played an integral role in the prosecution’s case. As an investigator on the case, Lotti, along with Detective Sergeant Mike Supanich and Detective Dave Lashley, collaborated with the district attorney’s office, the San Mateo County crime lab, and other law enforcement agencies to gather evidence and testimony.
“The process and the protections that are already in place in the justice system helped us get this verdict,” said Lotti outside the courtroom.
“From the crime lab, the DA’s office, the agencies in Yolo County—all the folks that played a part in this investigation helped bring about this result.”
Lotti added that the work of Lashley and the leadership of Supanich and their collaboration with the crime lab were key in the guilty verdict.
“They worked quickly and accurately in 2009, and hand it not been for them, we wouldn’t have gotten to this point—they worked hard and around the clock.”
“I wish this had never have happened but I’m glad for the Korn family that a guilty verdict was reached.”
Lotti also commended the community of Belmont for their help in the early days of the investigation.
“Belmont residents, particularly those in the Hallmark neighborhood pulled together in this case and helped the police department and ultimately the justice system in convicting Mr. Hutchinson,” said Lotti.
“We have great citizens in Belmont.”
Tyler James Hutchinson remains in custody on no-bail status. He will be sentenced on May 7 at 9:00 a.m. This was not a death penalty case; it is expected Hutchinson will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.