ALBANY, N.Y. -- It was a very short day at court Tuesday. The jury was reconvened a little before 10 a.m. and dismissed by 11:30 a.m. That's because the judge had to leave for an appointment down in New York City.
But despite the short stint in court Tuesday, all of the requests the jury made Monday night have been addressed. They were given the definitions of "intent to cause serious harm" and "recklessly cause death," as those two terms pertain to the manslaughter charges the jury can consider if they find Vanderhorst not guilty of murder. They also heard the explanation of self-defense, which is the reason Vanderhorst gave for stabbing Rhodes. Finally, they listened to the read backs of three testimonies: Vanderhorst, a doctor who spoke to Rhodes' fatal stab wound and a witness who was at the park.
That last testimony in particular was an emotional one for the Rhodes family. His mom crying as the woman recounted what happened April 30th of last year. The witness testified she arrived at Hoffman Park that night to see Vanderhorst waving a knife. She then ran over to see someone hand Rhodes a knife, but she said Rhodes gave the knife back to that person and said, "No, hands," telling Vanderhorst to put the knife away for just a fist fight. But this witness said that Vanderhorst said no, picked up a bike and threw it at Rhodes. She said Vanderhorst stabbed him in the chest shortly thereafter.
During Vanderhorst's read back, though, the jury heard him admit that while he did stab Rhodes, he said he did so in self-defense, saying, "I was scared. I thought he was going to kill me."
This scene was captured in a cell phone video that the prosecution says clearly shows Vanderhorst was in fact the aggressor. On Tuesday, both attorneys declined to comment.
Now by the time the court took care of these six requests, it was already 10:40 a.m., leaving the jury less than an hour to deliberate. Obviously that wasn't enough time, so the jury will be back in court Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. for more deliberations.