ALBANY, N.Y. – There is still no decision in the Jah-Lah Vanderhorst trial. Vanderhorst is facing second degree murder charges in the stabbing death of Tyler Rhodes in April of 2011.
Deliberations concluded Wednesday night with no verdict, though jurors have not had the full three days to deliberate. Factoring in read backs of testimony and redefinitions of terms, the jurors only had about four hours to deliberate between Monday and Tuesday and then a full extended day Wednesday. They will resume Thursday morning at 9:30.
Wednesday was a day where both read backs and redefinitions were requested. The jury asked again to hear Vanderhorst's testimony. They heard a portion of it Tuesday, then requested the full version to be re-read on Wednesday.
The 17-year-old's brother's testimony was also requested. Both had said Rhodes had repeatedly harassed Vanderhorst for months, often right outside his own home.
The third testimony was of Rhodes' best friend, which supported the prosecution's claim that Rhodes was a victim, not the aggressor. The defense has argued Rhodes was antagonistic and the stabbing was an act of self-defense.
Later in the evening, jurors asked the judge to redefine "intent to cause serious physical injury," which is a part of the charge of manslaughter in the first degree, one of the lesser charges Vanderhorst could face. This will be the second time they have asked for that definition. The first time was Monday night just before they headed home for the evening.
If Vanderhorst is found guilty of second degree murder, he could face 25 years to life in prison.