I’m not sure how much you guys have been following this saga, but the trial of Rebekah Johnson, the estranged member of the local Ganas community, concluded this evening. The jury, after deliberating for less than five hours, acquitted her.
Here are the facts of the case: she shot one of the community leaders outside his home two years ago. She fled and was at large for a year before she was caught in Philadelphia. The apartment she was living in when she was discovered contained firearms and ammunition. These points are beyond debate- they are a matter of record. So, given those two facts- why was she acquitted?
Two things come to mind: first, the jury simply possessed a reasonable doubt regarding the factual culpability of the woman; or second, the defendant could have argued that she was innocent by reason of (temporary) insanity- but I haven’t read that anywhere. In any case, I am stumped. Any thoughts?
The commune leader was understandably disturbed by the verdict:
“This is a very dangerous person who is now on the street,” Jeff Gross told the Advance. “My life is at risk. The lives of Ganas are at risk.”
Rebekah Johnson was found not guilty on charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and attempted grand larceny.
“I’m shocked and stunned. I don’t know what to say. I can’t explain it,” Gross said of the verdict. “Maybe the jury can explain it to you, to the press,” he said. Gross said he thought the jurors appeared to be in a light, jovial mood after the verdict.
“There was such overwhelming evidence. She was 10 feet from me, I recognized her immediately.”
On whether he would go back into hiding, as he did while Ms. Johnson was a fugitive from the law, Gross said: “It’s possible. I don’t know yet…. I don’t have a plan in place.”