After the verdict finding Peter Braunstein guilty on 14 of 15 counts related to his 13-hour attack on a woman in her Chelsea apartment, some of the jurors spoke to the media. The jurors took less than four hours to come to their decision and revealed they never bought into the defense claim that Braunstein, a former journalist who was undergoing some personal and professional crises at the time of the Halloween 2005 attack, was so mentally ill that he could not form intent. Here are some quotes from jurors:
Juror Randy Quan: "We do realize he does have a mental illness. But he's a smart guy. He clearly planned this. I mean, there was so much planning - he started buying chloroform in January, and this attack was in October." (Post)
"Some of the jurors did say they thought the comatose act was an act. When Braunstein's ex-girlfriend came in, his eyes were just wide open." (Daily News)
Joanne Hart: "It was a hard case to handle." (DN)
Scott Morris: "His admission and the evidence was all that we needed. We all felt that he had intent. He knew what he was doing. He planned it months ahead, buying the things on the Internet." (P)
"There was too much planning, from the beginning of 2005. The fact that he did it on Halloween, when anyone can dress up as anything and no one can question it, was brilliant. It was an ingenious scheme." (DN)
The Times spoke to an alternate juror, Dolph Klainberg, who did not deliberate but stayed for all the testimony. He said the verdict was a "no-brainer" and suggested that Braunstein's defense strategy was flawed:
Mr. Klainberg said Mr. Braunstein might have had a better chance with a traditional insanity defense.
“It really was an indefensible defense,” Mr. Klainberg said. “All the actions, the record, his writings, his interviews were very clear. All the events leading up to it, the preparation for the crime, the actual execution of the crime, his getaway. It was a really conscious effort on his part to commit this crime.”
Juror Randy Quan told the News that watching Gottlieb and prosecutor Maxine Rosenthal "was like watching two really good pitchers on the mound. A couple of us were kidding around that we wouldn't mind having Gottlieb defend us. He very zealously defended his client."
Gottlieb says he will appeal the case, blaming the law for not recognizing mental illness. As for the count where the jury acquitted Braunstein, it was the arson count. Jurors didn't believe that he wanted to burn down the building - he just wanted a distraction.
And the Daily News spoke to Braunstein's father Alberto, who said, "I don't suppose anybody cares, but you can't imagine how painful this is as a parent to watch this happen to a child." He also wondered why there were so many counts against his son, and said he felt a "little better after three Scotches" during lunch.