BELLEFONTE - The expected explosive finale to testimony in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case never materialized Wednesday as the retired Penn State assistant football coach did not take the witness stand and the prosecution called no rebuttal witnesses.
Instead, jurors heard from two former Second Mile participants, who confirmed Sandusky's good reputation in the community and related that Sandusky was instrumental in their lives.
After a morning that included many conferences between Senior Judge John Cleland and the attorneys for both sides, the judge told the jurors they would receive the case today after closing arguments.
Jurors will be sequestered during deliberations, which means when the case is placed in their hands, they will not be permitted to go home, Cleland said. If they cannot make a decision by Thursday, the jurors will spend the night, and ensuing nights if need be, in a hotel.
The 68-year-old Sandusky, who rarely smiled during seven days of testimony, appeared relaxed and talkative after the decision was made by his attorneys, Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger, not to put him on the stand to address accusations that he sexually abused 10 children between 1994 and 2009.
Eight of the alleged victims testified against him. Two of the cases included testimony from eyewitnesses who claim they saw Sandusky with young boys in the showers at Penn State's Lasch Football Building.
One instance, allegedly witnessed by then-graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary, occurred in February 2001, while the other, seen by a janitor, supposedly occurred toward the end of the 2000 football season.
Some expected Sandusky to take the stand in his own defense.
Amendola suggested as much in his opening statement on June 11 when he told the jury that taking showers with young boys does not prove sexual abuse. "He (Sandusky) will tell you later it was routine to take showers with others," Amendola said.
The defense attorney was explaining to the jurors that Sandusky grew up in Washington, Pa., where his parents operated a youth center.
Kline cautioned that it is the right of every accused person not to testify, but in Sandusky's case, it leaves the jury with no answer to what he referred to as "a mountain of evidence against him," attorney Tom Kline, who is representing Victim 5, said outside of the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
The Sentinel typically does not identify those who claim to be the victim of sexually-related crimes.
The defense instead lashed out at the charges by focusing on the police investigation, the character and possible motives of the young men to lie and what Amendola contended was a misperception by McQueary.
Amendola contended the former Penn State coach "saw something and made assumptions," which the defense said are not true.
The defense presented a tape of a police interview with one of the alleged victims and during a break in police questioning, Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Joseph Leiter told attorney Benjamin Andreozzi, who represents the man, that other former Second Mile youngsters revealed that Sandusky had oral and anal sex with them.
The defense contended that by sharing such information, the police were suggesting to the young accusers, who were reluctant to talk to them in the first place, what they should say, a charge Leiter denied on the witness stand.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan asked each victim, including Andreozzi's client, if he had been told what to say by the prosecution. All denied that had made up or embellished their stories.
Yet the defense presented one witness who said Victim 1 had a reputation for lying and embellishing stories. Another defense witness from Lock Haven said Victim 1 and his mother both told him they would reap financial rewards because of the Sandusky case.
Amendola constantly pointed out that six of the eight young men who testified already have lawyers, inferring that civil lawsuits asking money will eventually be filed.
Numerous character witnesses were presented by the defense during its three days of testimony in an effort to show Sandusky's solid reputation and high standing in the community.
The defense concluded its case Wednesday with Dr. Jonathan Dranov testifying about a meeting when Mike McQueary first revealed he had allegedly seen Sandusky in a sexual position with a youngster who he was holding against the wall.
Dranov said Mike McQueary came to his father's home in 2001, "His voice trembling. His hands shaking, visibly upset."
Dranov testified McQueary told his father John and him that he heard "sexual sounds" in the shower. Dranov said he asked McQueary what he meant and he answered "sexual sounds."
Dranov said he continued to question, but said McQueary was too upset to provide a "graphic description." Dranov said McQueary never described a specific sexual act.
McQueary, in his testimony, said he clearly communicated that something very serious had occurred that night. He said he eventually reported the incident to former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
Another defense witness Wednesday, Henry Lesch, said he was in charge of The Second Mile's golf tournament fundraising in 2001 and 2003. Lesch said McQueary's name appeared on lists that made it at least seem he had been present for the golf tournaments.
It challenged McQueary's testimony that he avoided anything that included Jerry Sandusky after the 2001 shower incident.
The jury was told Wednesday that (Harrisburg) Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim, who wrote extensively about the Sandusky case, sent an email last year to the mother of one of the alleged victims telling her to contact Cpl. Leiter if she wanted her son's abuse case investigated.
This was presented as a stipulation to the jury - an agreement of fact that was worked out after the newspaper's attorneys fought a defense subpoena to have Ganim testify.
A female juror was ill Wednesday and was replaced by one of the four alternate jurors.