[Update 11:05am Thursday: The jury has reached a guilty verdict on all counts: murder in the first degree, special circumstances, great bodily injury, robbery and burglary in the first degree
Standing before an overhead projected image of a smiling Albert Korn and his wife Gabriele, San Mateo County assistant district attorney Morris Maya urged a jury on Wednesday to return a verdict of first degree felony murder in the case of the People vs. Tyler James Hutchison.
“On June 2, 2009, Albert Korn lost everything, and the defendant Tyler James Hutchinson is the person who took it from him,” Maya said during his closing argument in Courtroom 2H of San Mateo County Superior Court.
Hutchinson, 25, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and the special allegation of murder during the commission of another felony. He has pleaded not guilty.
“On June 2, 2009, could Albert Korn have known that the life, the world he had spent 88 years building was as fragile as a window screen?” And that his life would be shattered in a matter of minutes?” Maya asked.
For an hour and ten minutes, Maya reviewed the two weeks’ worth of testimony from witnesses and evidence presented by the prosecution in the murder trial of Hutchinson, accused of burglarizing, robbing, and killing Albert Korn in his Belmont home almost four years ago.
Maya also explained step-by-step the variables associated with the first degree murder charge and described the elements that needed to convict the defendant of first degree murder with special circumstances—committing burglary and robbery that caused the death of the victim.
“In his pursuit of material goods, the defendant killed Albert Korn,” Maya told the jury, stressing that the amount of evidence was so abundant and so plain that “one only needs to look at the facts to reach a verdict of felony murder.”
Maya’s verbal argument was accompanied by an overhead slideshow of photographs of the crime scene at 2536 Hallmark Dr.--photos of bloody carpet in the office of the home, photos of ransacked rooms where the defendant was said to have torn through looking for jewelry and other valuables; photos of Albert Korn’s battered face, his detached pupil, his missing teeth, his lifeless body.
Expert witnesses testified throughout the trial that fingerprints, blood and DNA found at the Korn’s house and in Korn’s stolen Jaguar matched that of the defendant. And a string of witnesses---from a UPS deliveryman to neighbors on Hallmark and Crestview drives placed Hutchinson on Hallmark Drive in the minutes leading up to the break-in and the beating.
“Is there any question what Tyler James Hutchinson’s intentions were on that day? He broke in through a window, breaking a screen and climbing in for the purpose of stealing what was inside, then ransacking the house and going through personal items. He ravaged and stole---taking Mrs. Korn’s jewelry and Albert Korn’s wallet,” said Maya.
Maya went onto describe the theft of Korn’s Jaguar, used as a getaway vehicle that was later dumped just two miles away in Belmont. The car was discovered several days later and detectives found blood and fingerprints matching those of Hutchinson.
Hutchinson was arrested two days later in West Sacramento for committing similar crimes---breaking into homes in the middle of the day and physically assaulting anyone who stood in his way of stealing things from the home.
Maya went through the timeline of events on June 2, 2009 and all of the evidence collected and the witness testimony, then explained the charges to the jury, emphasizing that the killing of a person during a burglary and/or robbery is a felony murder.
“You are the voice of the community and you are required by law to hold this man responsible. This is first degree murder,” concluded Maya.
In his closing argument, defense attorney James Thompson, who did not call any witnesses during the trial, questioned the prosecution’s use of what he termed emotional phrases such as “savage.”
“You were told Mr. Hutchinson is a savage and that he is not entitled to any semblance of humanity,” said Thompson.
“It’s not the jury’s job to form an emotional response—it’s to analyze the evidence and listen to the instructions that are both procedural and substantive."
Thompson also told the jurors that they needed to be mindful of circumstantial evidence.
“People’s perceptions are shaped by things that happened later,” he said, referring to a witness who testified that he saw a man with dreadlocks walking on Hallmark Drive on June 2, 2009. Hutchinson did not have dreadlocks on the day of the Korn beating.
Thompson also said that the injury to the right side of Korn’s brain was not consistent with being punched in the left eye, despite the testimony of the Stanford neurologists who treated Korn, suggesting that Korn may have sustained a brain injury in a fall months before he was attacked.
“There is no evidence proving a fall did not cause the brain injury,” said Thompson.
The prosecution countered Thompson’s argument by saying that it was precisely the violent quality of the beating that caused Albert Korn’s death.
“There’s a murderer in the courtroom. And that murderer is Tyler James Hutchinson,” said Maya.
Judge Mark Forcum gave the jury their instructions on Wednesday afternoon and they will deliberate until they reach a verdict in the case.
Patch will update this story when a verdict is reached.