After nearly a month of testimony, the trial of Randall Hofland is finally over.

We are glad for it, as it will allow us to focus on other stories around Waldo County. But we are sure there are other people who are more grateful to be returning to their everyday lives, and they are the 12 jurors and three alternates who were charged with the task of deciding Hofland’s fate.

Having sat through the proceedings each day, we can appreciate the dedication the jurors showed throughout the trial. Despite the lengthy testimony and enormous amount of detail presented to this panel each day, every juror appeared to follow the case carefully, which is a clear indication to us that they took their work seriously.

We know jury duty isn’t typically something people look forward to when they’re selected for it, and this trial was certainly not typical, considering the both its scope and the length of time it took to complete. We offer our thanks to this group of men and women, and we believe their decision was as fair and just as it could have been, given the evidence that was presented to them.

One example of this is the decision to find Hofland not guilty on one charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a charge Hofland faced as a result of the report from former Searsport Police Officer Jessica Danielson that he had pointed a gun at her. We’ve heard both sides of that story, and we wholeheartedly believe Danielson was telling the truth about what happened during that traffic stop on Oct. 23, 2008.

As District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau told jurors during his closing argument, “Of the two people who truly know what happened, there is one person you should believe and one person you should not.” Without saying it directly, Rushlau’s implication was that Danielson was telling the truth and that Hofland was lying.

That being said, we know a jury needs to consider all of the possibilities surrounding the situation in order to make the fairest finding that it can. Because the defense argued it was dark that night and Hofland alleged what Danielson saw was not a gun but instead a cell phone, we suspect jurors thought the defense raised enough questions to create reasonable doubt.

Reasonable doubt can be something of a tricky phrase. It’s well known the prosecution has to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, but what does it mean, exactly? We liked what Justice Jeffrey Hjelm told jurors as he gave them instructions prior to the start of their deliberations last week.

“‘Beyond a reasonable doubt’ is not ‘beyond any doubt,’ or a mathematical certainty,” Hjelm explained. “It is a doubt based on reason or thought, not a whimsical or fleeting doubt.”

Hjelm also told jurors their role was to serve as the “judge of the facts,” and that their “memory of the evidence” was what would control their deliberations. We think the jury did the job it was charged with doing.

It is also worth noting, we think, that in a county which has something of a reputation — one might say a black eye — for producing jury verdicts that fly in the face of conventional wisdom, these are verdicts (and jurors) of which we can all be proud.

Hofland’s trial has taken up enormous amounts of both time and resources. The defendant spent much of that time minimizing his own actions and the impacts those actions had on the people who were unfortunate enough to have encountered him in October 2008.

It wasn’t always easy to hear; in particular, we can’t imagine what it was like for the Stockton Springs Elementary School students, staff and parents who attended various parts of the trial. To have experienced what they did that Halloween day, and then to have to sit in the same room with Hofland as he spun his delusional theories — that he really wanted to help them, that it was their teacher who scared them more than he did — only added insult to injury.

After all, while he was charged with kidnapping 11 fifth graders, Hofland essentially held an entire community hostage that October morning, as family and friends waited to learn if their loved ones at the school were safe. Many of those people, we feel safe in stating, would have rather never seen Hofland’s face again.

And yet the people who needed to be there in the courtroom these past weeks were there, nevertheless. It was the testimony of those students and staff members, though, that formed the core of the state’s case against Hofland. They saw what happened. They knew what it felt like. They told their story, and the jury listened. When the students took the stand, their parents were there to support them. We commend them all for having the courage to see the process through to the end.

At the end of the trial, the jury had the time-consuming task of sifting through hours of testimony and mountains of evidence and exhibits to decide Hofland’s fate.

We’re fortunate to have had a group that was focused not on exacting justice on a man whose personality leaves much to be desired — which might have been easy to do — but instead was focused on making the most fair and just decision it could arrive at, in spite of Hofland’s less-than-likable ways.

Thanks to all for a job well done.