[UPDATED W/Courtroom Drama] John Chamberlain Murder Trial Verdict: All Five Defendants Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

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Paul Bersebach, OC Register pool photographer
Jared Petrovich enters the courtroom on Oct. 24
UPDATED, Oct. 26 11:42 P.M.: You could see it in the faces of the five handcuffed men as they were led into Judge James Stotler's courtroom shortly after 5:30 p.m last night. Just over 24 hours earlier, they had watched with cautious optimism as the jury told Stotler they were hopelessly deadlocked about whether to convict them of first degree murder. Jared Petrovich, for one, had entered the courtroom with the faintest glimpse of a smile on his face.

But now, Petrovich and the rest of his fellow defendants, Garret Aguilar, Stephen Carlstrom, Miguel Guillen and Raul Villafana, all charged with the Oct. 5, 2006 jailhouse murder of John Chamberlain, a Rancho Santa Margarita software engineer awaiting trial on misdemeanor possession of child pornography, looked anything but happy as they awaited the clerk's reading of the verdict. Presumably, their lawyers had told them to expect the worst, which is exactly what happened: all five were found guilty of second degree murder.

As the clerk read out the verdict for Raul Villafana, the defendant's mother, a meek, middle-aged woman who'd quietly attended the trial for the past three months, began sobbing uncontrollably and Stotler ordered her to be removed from the courtroom. Ten of the 12 jurors rushed to the elevator, apparently uninterested in prolonging their public service by explaining their verdict to reporters. However two jurors lingered: Erik Johnson of Brea and Kim McPeck of Santa Ana.

Both men confirmed reports that the jury's 11-days-long deliberation had grown heated, with at least two members of the jury repeatedly arguing with each other. They also stated that certain aspects of the case troubled them, especially the fact that the evidence clearly showed the five defendants were hardly alone in carrying out Chamberlain's fatal beating.

But according to McPeck, a majority of jurors didn't believe Petrovich's claim that Deputy Kevin Taylor informed him that Chamberlain was a child molester and urged him to arrange the assault. "I don't think 12 jurors wanted to hang their hat on Mr. Petrovich's testimony," he said.

Asked if justice had been served by the jury's verdict, Johnson winced thoughtfully. "I'm going to spend a long time answering that question," he said.

McPeck, for his part, seemed surer the jury had done the right thing. "I believe so," he said, adding that he felt the five defendants should have been convicted of first degree murder. "I am saddened by how one event will impact their lives. That's what I tell all the kids I meet: don't let five minutes of stupidity ruin the rest of your lives."

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Jared Petrovich's Booking Photo
ORIGINAL POST, Oct. 25, 5:50 PM: Just minutes ago, an Orange County jury found the five people charged with the beating death of John Chamberlain at Theo Lacy Jail back in 2006 guilty of second-degree murder.

This came just a day after the jury told Orange County Superior Court Judge James Stotler they could not reach a verdict on any of the five charged on first-degree murder. Stotler wouldn't accept a hung jury, however, and ordered them to return to the jury room and try to convict them on second-degree murder charges--and it worked!

More details to come as they become available.
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15 comments
949girl
949girl

Sorry for my swearing in the previous post but this verdict really pissed me off when I found out.  I believe if you commit a crime then you should suffer the consequences BUT I'm not buying that this was a murder.  The deputies and the OCSD are dirty!  Hopefully these guys appeal and win.  A kick or a punch by dozens of people does not equal murder.  Had these guys not gone along with this they could have been victims themselves.  I'd really love to hear what Chapluk or Taylor has to say about this.  Also, I'm shocked that the jurors were close to considering first degree murder, it's kind of scary actually.

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

I am curious, was this jury sequestered for the 11 days of original deliberations? is it possible that when the judge ordered them to return to deliberations that they decided to just give in on the lesser charge?

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

Im confused on why the deputys involved didnt get charged with anything by the DA. This just stinks. no that I thihnk the 5 defendants should be exhonorated. But the deputy had just as much a hnd in this guys death as the defendants that took the charge for it.

949girl
949girl

Such Bullshit!!! Yeah the deputies get off SCOTT FREE yet the inmates are taking the fall.  This is so dissapointing.  I really hope karma comes for STILL EMPLOYED "DEPUTY JASON CHAPLUK" and "former deputy" KEVIN TAYLOR...and the ridiculous charge happy bald DA's Baytieh and Bogardus.  Such a disgrace and a sad day in OC.  I'm sick to my stomach.  Yeah, you heard that right, Deputy Chapluk still works at the jail, Intake and Release if I'm not mistaken, at the fucking jail system where he was apparently fired from.    one things for sure, they have their freedom while Fucking these guys over. Oh, that's right, Chapluk is on the OCSD payroll to this day.  So the DA has a conviction, the deputies have their pension and the inmates will serve a substantial sentence...Really Fair Jury! YOU SUCK!

Hugskisseswinks
Hugskisseswinks

This is crazy I'm surprise. I knew it from the beginning. But I was hoping they would have gotten a lighter charge.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Did you see how long that dudes neck is...

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Missing video, doctored logs, immunity from prosecution...  Typical day for the OCSD. 

Guest
Guest

I would not say they were not guilty of something, but how they can be guilty of 2nd Degree Murder and the guard not even charged with anything is beyond comprehension.

949girl
949girl

I am completely shocked! This is so wrong! I was so hoping they would all be found not guilty

Joseph
Joseph

What total fucking bullshit! Not all of them were equally culpable, and certainly not more than the so called guards

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

When a man dies as a result of a group of people punching and kicking him it IS manslaughter. I do not sympathize with these people much. but jailhouse mentality has an IQ of about 10. I was not on the jury and I did not hear or see the evidence, but from what I have read and my lifes experiences tell me that Taylor at the least was behind this tragedy.

Nschou
Nschou

No, the jury was not sequestered. Based on what the two jurors who spoke with the media had to say, there was never any disagreement among jurors as to guilt, just whether it should be first degree or second degree murder. Its possible that the length of deliberations, which stretched for a month because of weekends and other delays, was a factor. It's also possible that jurors may have felt second degree murder would bring about a substantially less harsh punishment than life in prison, which in practical terms, is exactly what the five defendants now face. 

More OC Injustice
More OC Injustice

I agree.

Unfortunately the most outspoken, alpha-dog jurors usually influence the others. This undoubtedly happened in this case.  

Taylor and Chapluk, you two are a fucking disgrace.  

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