The Trial Verdicts

The McMartin jury never learned about Judy Johnson's emotional problems, but it had two-and-one-half years to look at all the best evidence that the prosecution could present, including the taped interviews and court testimony of nine child witnesses who testified they had been abused, over 1,000 pieces of evidence, and the testimony of 143 other witnesses.56

First Trial Verdict

On January 18, 1990 the jury handed down verdicts in favor of the defense. Seven of the 12 jurors voted for acquittal on all counts against both defendants.57 Peggy McMartin Buckey, accused of molesting four children, was acquitted of all 13 counts remaining against her. Her son Ray, accused of molesting 14 children, was acquitted on 39 of 52 counts with the jury voting overwhelmingly for acquittal on the remaining 13 counts.58

Five jurors reportedly believed that none of the children had been molested. The seven others thought some children had been molested but they were unable to reach a consensus about how much molestation had occurred or who could have caused it. They had little confidence in the prosecution's evidence or the way the case had been investigated. "Even if you accept that the children were molested," one juror commented, "they [the prosecution] didn't show they were molested at the McMartin preschool."59

It was wrong, the jury said, for the Manhattan Beach Police Department to send out a letter to 200 McMartin parents that suggested their children may have been molested and that parents should question their children. The result was rampant gossip and cross-germination of stories. The jurors saved their harshest criticisms for the CII child interviews, saying that they were "leading, suggestive and worthless" as incriminating evidence.60

Some jurors said that the children's accounts were contradictory or logistically impossible. Prosecutors' far-fetched attempts to paint defendant Ray Buckey as a pedophile with evidence that he read Playboy magazine and didn't always wear underwear went unheeded by jurors.

Nor were they convinced by the "corroborative" testimony of a career criminal and professional "jail house snitch" (a known perjurer and murder suspect) who was placed in Ray Buckey's jail cell and became a star witness for the prosecution. Weeks of testimony about animal remains and the search by parents and the District Attorney's hired archaeologists for the alleged underground tunnels were also unpersuasive.61

First Trial Aftermath

Reiner was now entangled in a campaign to become the Democratic Party's nominee for attorney general of California. The McMartin case, tightening like a noose around his political neck, needed to be deftly handled and discarded if possible. But Reiner was unable to balance conflicting moral and political demands to his advantage. On one hand, the jury had spoken and the two defendants who had already spent years in jail without chance of bail deserved to go free.62 On the other hand, McMartin parents and a chorus of local politicians were pressuring Reiner to retry Buckey on the remaining 13 deadlocked counts.

Within two weeks after the verdicts were read, parents and their allies began an intensive campaign for a retrial. They appeared in the national news media and on television talk shows repeating claims of molestation and satanic rituals.63 Bob Currie boasted that he had new evidence that would help convict the defendants. At two news conferences he failed to live up to a promise to unveil hundreds of police reports; instead, he read allegations supposedly made by his own son — who was not a complaining witness in the case, and presented a mother who said her child had been molested at a church across the street from the preschool.64

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors bowed to pressure from the parents and agreed to demand an investigation of the McMartin case by the state Attorney General's office if Reiner did not retry Ray Buckey.65 Reiner announced that Buckey would be retried on 8 of the 13 remaining counts — all involving three girls who had testified at the first trial. A new prosecution team led by Joseph Martinez was assigned and 5 more counts against Ray Buckey were dropped.

Martinez announced that the new trial would be more concise and better focused than the first, but there would be no new evidence to work with other than the supposed ability of the children to remember better this time around.66 Except for the discovery of a "smoking gun," however, there was virtually no chance that a second jury would convict Ray Buckey.67

Second Trial Verdict

The trial was perfunctory and its final outcome on the remaining charges was almost identical to the outcome of the first trial. On July 27, the second jury announced that it was hung on all counts, again favoring acquittals by a substantial vote margin.68 The judge ruled a mistrial and the jurors began to answer reporters' questions. The second jury's concerns about the evidence echoed the concerns of the first jury.

The Dark Truth About the "Dark Tunnels of McMartin"

bulletThe Beginning
bulletThe Accusation
bulletThe Letter
bulletChildren's Institute International
bulletHysteria Spreads
bulletNews Media Coverage and National Hysteria
bulletFollowing the Money
bulletDr. Roland C. Summit
bulletSatanic Trappings and the Search for The Secret Rooms and Tunnels
bulletIncredibly Weak Evidence
bulletSummit Defends MacFarlane's Interviews of the McMartin Children, Without Reviewing the Interviews
bulletJudy Johnson's Increasingly Bizarre Behavior
bulletThe Trial Verdicts
bulletParents Begin Search For Tunnels
bulletRevisionist History: Judy Johnson and The Dark Tunnels of McMartin
bulletThe Third McMartin Trial
bulletEthics, Professors, Indiana Jones, Switzerland, and Early (Very Early) Man
bulletTunnel Precursors
bulletBob Currie
bulletOrigin of a Secret Room
bulletFrom Santa Claus To Lions
bulletMultiple Molestations: Devils, a Dead Baby, and a Ghost
bulletTunnel Therapy
bulletThe District Attorney's Excavation
bulletAnalysis of the Report on the 186 (minus one page) Manhattan Tunnel Project (MTP) by E. Gary Stickel
bulletMTP Archeological Methodology Employed by E. Gary Stickel
bulletSite Contamination By Manhatten Tunnel Project
bulletPhotographic Documentation of the MTP Archeological Procedures
bulletStickel's Conclusions About the Evidence He Claims to Have Obtained from the Archeological MTP Project
bulletThe Missing Tunnel
bulletEstimating Dates of "Tunnel" Artifacts

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