It took 12 jurors 35 minutes to decide that 57-year-old Randall Hofland was not insane when he carried out a series of crimes at Stockton Springs Elementary School Oct. 31, 2008.

Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 1, the jury returned its decision that Hofland was criminally responsible for the 39 charges they found him guilty of following five hours of deliberation Jan. 28.

The jury began its deliberations at about 1 p.m., and returned a verdict at 1:35 p.m.

After the verdict was read, Justice Jeffrey Hjelm thanked jurors for putting their own lives on hold for more than four weeks since Hofland’s trial began. The trial got underway Jan. 7.

“I can’t thank you deeply enough for the service you’ve provided to your community,” said Hjelm to jurors.

As he was leaving Waldo County Superior Courthouse, Hofland said he disagreed with the verdicts and said witnesses were not truthful throughout his trial. He also blamed former Searsport Police Officer Jessica Danielson.

“We can all thank Jessica Danielson for this,” said Hofland, who later broadened his statement to include all law enforcement involved with his case.

Hofland also directed comments at the media, stating much of the truth was hidden throughout his trial, and the media doesn’t care about uncovering it.

“That’s why you have the reputation you have,” said Hofland, his hands crossed in front of him and secured with a set of handcuffs.

Hofland did express concern for children he encountered at the school, noting they are now suffering because adults in their lives fed them lies about what really happened on Oct. 31, 2008.

“I’m sorry about these kids, that’s the only thing I’m truly sorry for,” he said.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said he was “very satisfied” with the jury’s finding, and complimented the jury for a job well done.

“I just can’t say enough about the jury and how hard they worked,” he said.

Rushlau said the trial brought its share of the unexpected, including snow days and other types of delays that prevented testimony from beginning on time, but said he suspected the trial would be a lengthy one based on the amount of time spent on the case since Hofland’s arrest in 2008.

Rushlau described the case as “unprecedented,” particularly since Hofland represented himself in “a case of this magnitude.” Rushlau has had a relatively unusual experience in courtrooms across the region during the last six months, as he also tried the case of Michael Chasse, a Maine State Prison inmate who held two people hostage at the prison in August 2008. Chasse, who was found guilty of the charges associated with the hostage situation, also represented himself during his criminal trial.

“To have that happen two times in six months is certainly odd,” said the prosecutor.

Toothaker: Hofland’s delusion ‘huge’

In the closing argument for the defense, Hofland’s stand-by attorney, Jeffrey Toothaker, told the jury that while Hofland was found competent to stand trial, that finding does not mean Hofland was sane at the time he entered Stockton Springs Elementary School.

Toothaker said all that is required to be found competent to stand trial is that the defendant understands the charges against him or her, and that the defendant is able to assist in his or her own trial.

“This man’s delusion is huge, it’s not minor, it’s major,” said Toothaker. “You are determining whether he has a mental disease or defect…It should’ve been pretty obvious what was going through his mind probably wasn’t normal thinking.”

Toothaker questioned whether Hofland “truly appreciated that what he was doing was wrong,” and described Hofland as “a man who is disturbed beyond all recognition of reality.”

Toothaker said Hofland has not held a longstanding job “forever,” he doesn’t see his children and he is “obsessed with things that wouldn’t concern anybody else.”

Hofland also addressed the jury during the closing, and many of his statements were a continuation of his own testimony on Jan. 31.

Hofland talked about his past negative experiences with local police officers, and again brought up George Perkins, the man Hofland said he was a caretaker for, until their relationship fell apart in 2004.

Hofland said he still has cases pending in Waldo County that have gone unresolved, and claimed that was an example of his being denied justice.

He again accused Danielson of telling falsehoods, and Hofland extended that characterization to bus driver Glen Larrabee and physical education teacher Dan Campbell. Both men testified that Hofland pointed a gun at them while he was at the school.

“They all had consequences,” said Hofland. “I have been convicted of something I didn’t do.”

He said while at the school, he never wanted to hurt the children.

“I worry about them as much as I worry about my own children, or any other child,” said Hofland.

Overall, Hofland said his state of mind was driven by events that took place at the Oct. 23, 2008 traffic detail on Route 1, at which time Hofland encountered Danielson and Danielson reported Hofland pointed a gun at her.

“All I know is I would never have done something like that under normal circumstances,” he said. “If my actions were not the actions of a temporarily insane person, then we are in real trouble.”

Insanity defense does not apply

Rushlau opened by telling jurors that while some may see the insanity defense as a “dodge,” it is actually quite useful under many kinds of circumstances.

Rushlau said if Hofland went into the school believing he was a World War II American soldier and the school was a fortress protected by German soldiers, the jury would likely find him to be insane.

“That does not apply in this case,” said Rushlau.

Rushlau also used the example of a jealous spouse who may also suffer from a personality disorder. If that person actually harmed their spouse based on their own beliefs, Rushlau said that doesn’t mean the aggressor can then use the insanity defense.

“It is an action that is motivated by a mistaken belief, but they knew what they were doing,” said Rushlau.

Rushlau referred to Monday’s testimony from Dr. Ann Leblanc, director of the State Forensic Service, who explained different types of disorders, and the varying degrees of those disorders. Rushlau revisited Leblanc’s example of insomnia, which in its severe form can adversely affect a person’s health and ability to work.

“But we’d never call a person with acute insomnia insane,” said Rushlau.

Rushlau described Hofland as “arrogant” and “obnoxious,” and as a man who often comes off as “smug and superior.” Rushlau said in Hofland’s mind, there are many entities working against him.

“And he is constantly the loser,” said Rushlau. “Everything that goes wrong in his life is the fault of someone else.”

Rushlau said when Hofland handed his weapon over to the fifth-grade boy before leaving the classroom himself, Hofland did so because he understood it was “the safest way to end the hostage situation.”

As for why Rushlau opted not to call any witnesses for the state, the district attorney said plainly, “Because I didn’t need to.”

“The defendant is not a person who can take advantage of the insanity defense,” said Rushlau. “Nothing would have hindered his ability to assess what he was doing.”