Todd Burpee, 22, was convicted Thursday afternoon of six out of seven felony charges in the brutal Oct. 30, 2007, attack, kidnapping and sexual assault on a 17-year-old Gunn High School girl identified in court only as "Jane Doe."
The at-times horrifying trial, which detailed the sexual assault against the victim and included pornographic images submitted as evidence, began nearly three weeks ago. It included Doe's emotional testimony of being strangled and having her head smashed into the pavement at her south Palo Alto apartment complex.
The case was handed to the jury of six men and six women late Wednesday morning. Jurors convicted Burpee, a Palo Alto High School graduate, of two counts of assault with attempt to commit rape or sexual penetration by force; two counts of assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury; kidnapping with intent to commit rape or sexual penetration; and sexual penetration by force.
Burpee was also convicted of special allegations on each count of infliction of great bodily injury and on the seventh count, of aggravated kidnapping.
The jury did not, however, convict him of attempted murder.
Burpee faces a minimum of 25 years to life in prison.
Two jurors -- a middle-aged white man and a Latino woman in her 20s -- spoke with reporters outside the Santa Clara County Superior Court building after the trial ended.
They said jurors had no doubts that Burpee perpetrated the crime and had agreed by the end of the day Wednesday on the six counts he was convicted of Thursday.
However, they could not agree on the charge of attempted murder, with some members unconvinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to kill Doe.
The scene in the courtroom was tense as the verdict was read. The weight of the jurors' decisions clearly hung heavily on their faces. They did not make eye contact with Burpee, who stood facing them, wearing a dark suit.
As the jury's decision on the first charge, that of attempted murder, was read -- "not guilty" -- Burpee's mother, Chekita Griggs, screamed with joy and fled the courtroom to compose herself.
However, as the other charges were read, Burpee's sister, Monet Burpee, sobbed loudly and also fled outside the courtroom, where her cries of anguish could be heard.
Burpee sat motionless after the verdits were read, putting a hand to his face. He covered his brow briefly and lowered his head, as his sister sobbed in the hallway.
After the verdict, a tearful Griggs sat in the plaza outside the Hall of Justice in San Jose.
It was a lonely place for her and her daughter, inhabited only by the sounds of rushing traffic and the mother and daughter's mourning. There were few people there to comfort them, except for Burpee's defense attorney, Daniel Olmos, on his face etched the gravity of the sentence his client could receive.
"My son is not the monster the D.A. portrayed him as," said Griggs, who acknowledged that her son was involved in the assault crimes and has had problems with anger management. But she remained unconvinced of his guilt on the sexual charges, however, saying her son "is not a sexual predator."
"It's the worst nightmare for a parent. My heart of course goes out for the victim as well. But my son is a victim, too," she said sobbing.
"The worst punishment he has is beating up on himself," she said.
Griggs said she wanted people to know that her son had made great strides in his life and was on a good track before something went wrong.
"My son is somebody," she said, expressing the pain of reading media reports that portrayed him only as a criminal and not as a person.
"In the eighth-grade they told me my baby couldn't read. He went on to graduate high school, and he went to college. He wanted to be police officer," she said.
"I do think it was aggravated assault," she said, adding that she viewed the other charges against him as "overcharge and overkill."
"I love my son," she said.
Deputy District Attorney James Leonard, who is a sexual-assault prosecutor, said he still believes that Burpee was guilty of attempted murder and felt there was enough evidence to convict him. Anytime there's a conflicting intent, it's difficult for jurors to resolve, he said.
Overall, however, "I am satisfied the jury did a good job. Obviously, it's not an easy subject matter. They did a fair analysis of the evidence," Leonard said.
Despite the jury's failure to convict on the attempted murder charge, it is the seventh charge -- sexual penetration by force, fear or threats -- that is the most serious, he said.
"In my opinion, it is the most offensive and carries the greatest sentence," he said. A guilty verdict on attempted murder would have added only a few more years to Burpee's sentence, he added.
Leonard said he believed from the start that the case was primarily a sex crime. Four of the charges that Burpee was convicted of were sexual.
"I thought that was his primary motive," Leonard said.
Burpee had been offered a plea deal of 25 years to life early in the case and turned it down, Leonard said. But now, "he'll do more time."