Juror In Carlsbad School Shooting Trial Speaks Out

Martha Hamilton Talks About Helping Put Kelly Elementary School Shooter Brendan O'Rourke Behind Bars

A juror who helped send a North County school shooter to prison spoke to 10News about the decisions that led to the guilty verdict.

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"Things could have gone another way, and he made that choice," juror Martha Hamilton said.

From her family's living room in San Marcos, Hamilton talked with 10News about her three weeks as a juror on the Brendan O'Rourke trial. O'Rourke was found guilty for opening fire on the playground at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad.

"There were so many different things to the case," she said. "I'm surprised it didn't last longer."

It was an act the 42-year-old shooter blamed on former employers going after him.

"I think everyone faces these problems, but he twisted it into something else," Hamilton said.

She said it wasn't easy for the jurors to find him sane at the time of the shooting.

"We did go almost two days and there were at least three people, of my fellow jurors, that didn't see it that way," she said.

She said she learned in the courtroom that a person can have a mental condition and still be aware of right and wrong. That's when she said she knew he was sane.

"He went and hit some kids, which he knew was wrong," she said.

Hamilton also opened up to 10News about listening to the students testify. Among them were two girls who were shot in the arm, both 7 years old at the time.

"They seemed the most brave to me," she said.

She said the testimony moved her and her fellow jurors.

"I admit, the little kids and then some of the police testimony got me going," Hamilton said as she wiped away tears from her eyes.

10News was near the Carlsbad school in early March as jurors had an extension of the courtroom and visited the Kelly Elementary campus. What surprised Hamilton, she said, was how low the fence was.

"A lot had focused on this fence. That's why I was kind of shocked that it wasn't built up just a little more," she said. "I'm not the tallest person in the world and I went right up to it."

Even though the case wrapped up six weeks ago, she said she still thinks about the case. However, Hamilton said she sleeps well at night knowing she helped convict the campus shooter who will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"It was a miracle," she said. "I'm just glad to see that it wasn't worse."

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