Juror Joshua Harper talked exclusively to NBC's Lester Holt about how jurors worked to reach their verdicts, and how Jerry Sandusky's reaction in court last night confirmed for Harper that they'd made the right decision.
Lester Holt: When you walked into that juror room, did you find most of your fellow jurors were on the same page as to how you would go forward?
Juror Joshua Harper: Yes, Yeah. We were on the same page.
LH: Were you rattled at all about the emotions of listening to the testimony?
Juror JH: I wasn’t rattled by the emotions. I think we were real focused on the facts and determining credibility.
LH: You heard eight victims back-to-back. Did any one stand out or was there a collective sense of the stories being the same that really sent you in the direction of a conviction
Juror JH: I would say both. I think there were a couple that I felt [were] very credible. I mean it’s hard to judge character on the stand because you don’t know these kids. But most were uh, you know, very credible, uh, I would say all. But then also the fact that we saw this corroborating story between all of them – it was very convincing.
LH: The jury asked to rehear the testimony of Mike McQueary. He was the assistant coach who testified that he witnessed a molestation act in the shower. You didn’t go so far as to convict Jerry Sandusky of rape in that case. What held you back on that and what did you think of McQueary’s testimony? How important was it?
Juror JH: For me it was very important. The reason we held back is because we didn’t have the evidence. Because McQueary did not see any actual penetration. And we were in agreement, amongst all the jurors, that because of that, we could not convict him of that first count. But I just kept going back in my mind, you know, ‘Why would McQueary lie about something like this?’ And he was sure and he made it very apparent that he saw something that was wrong and extremely sexual.
LH: Was it hard to get to 45 convictions on this case? Was there disagreement as to his guilt or innocence on any of these charges at any point?
Juror JH: Yes, there was. It was just that we looked at some of the inconsistencies in some of the testimony and we wanted to reconcile those and make sure that wouldn’t discredit the testimony. And so we worked through those things, systematically as a jury. We really worked together very well and we were patient and we gave time and I thought it was very good that certain jurors expressed those misgivings that they had and the inconsistencies and we worked through those together to make sure we were making the right decision.
LH: You folks were sequestered during this – cut off from TV and the internet. After you went behind closed doors to start your deliberations, we learned that Matt Sandusky, Jerry Sandusky’s son, was prepared to take the stand and say he was abused by his father. What did you think when you heard that?
Juror JH: Oh, that was just confirmation. I mean, we were all kind of basically told at the same time and we were just looking at each other like we had suspected that, but we had no evidence of it, but it just solidified our decision.
LH: What were the feelings as you watched the sentences come down in open court and looked at Jerry Sandusky last night
Juror JH: That was just confirmation again. You know I looked at him during the reading of the verdict, and just the look on his face, no real emotion, just kind of accepting, you know, because he knew it was true.