Published June 07, 2005
SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The jury weighing whether Michael Jackson (search) is guilty of child molestation headed home again Tuesday afternoon, completing a second full day of deliberations without a verdict.
The eight women and four men on the panel, ranging in ages from 20 to 79, deliberated all day Tuesday. They also deliberated all day Monday and for two hours after they got the case last Friday.
The jury panel was meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. PDT with three 10-minute breaks but no lunch break.
On Tuesday, 100 fans milled about, sometimes singing along to Jackson songs from a boom box and hoisting signs such as one that read, "Don't Mess With MJ Fans."
Others chanted "Michael! Innocent!" One woman led a line of about a dozen children dressed in black pants, white shirts and black ties who performed a song that included the line, "We came to support Michael Jackson."
Fariba Garmani, 44, opened a box of white homing pigeons as fans chanted "Innocent" and set the birds free. She hoped to do it again when the verdicts come.
"They symbolize freedom so with each innocent verdict I'm hoping one will be released," she said.
Jackson was optimistic Tuesday as he awaited a decision by the jury in his child molestation and conspiracy case, the Rev. Jesse Jackson (search) said.
"Michael is very well embraced through all of this by his supporters throughout the world," the pop star's friend told reporters outside the courthouse.
The scene outside the courthouse was much calmer than on Monday, when the pop star's father showed up and news media and fans surged around him.
Rev. Jackson, who has been a Jackson confidant throughout the trial, was asked why he came to the courthouse during deliberations.
"If Michael's friends did not stand up for him in a public way, you would ask, 'Where are they?'" he said.
He also said that rumors have continued to swirl about Jackson's health and he wanted to reassure everyone that "he is resting comfortably" in spite of great back pain.
"Through all of this Michael remains amazingly optimistic — A, declaring his own innocence, B, declaring his confidence in the jury," Rev. Jackson said.
Some legal analysts have predicted an extended deliberations period because of all the threads to the case.
The 46-year-old singer is charged with molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003, giving the boy alcohol and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut a documentary in which Jackson appeared with the boy and said he let children into his bed but it was nonsexual.
The pop star — who had his heyday in the 1980s with hits like "Thriller," "Beat It" and "Billy Jean" — faces more than 20 years in prison if he is found guilty of all 10 counts he's been charged with. If convicted on the molestation counts, Jackson could get several years in prison.
Some court observers have said the prosecution successfully argued its case for the alcohol offense but not for the conspiracy charge. The very serious charge of child molestation seems the most up-in-the-air to those who have watched and analyzed the trial proceedings.
If Jackson does get jail time, he would be in an area of prison where "selected needs people" are housed, FOX News has learned.
As the jury deliberated Monday, hundreds of fans and reporters gathered outside the courthouse.
Jackson supporters on Monday held signs declaring "Only love. No crime. He's innocent. Leave him alone," "We shall overcome" and "Peter Pan rules." One woman was spotted with a sign showing Mahatma Gandhi (search), Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jackson.
After the first full day of deliberations ended Monday afternoon, about 50 Jackson backers made the trip to Neverland's well-guarded gates, which are adorned with red paper hearts and red and white bunting.
Messages of support are written on hearts tacked to the estate's low wood fences. Kim Newell of Melbourne, Australia, wrote: "Thank you for everything. Vindication is nearly here."
A few dozen fans held hands in a circle and prayed in the driveway.
"He will not lose, not one thing that he has worked for," said Goward Horton, a 24-year-old who led the prayer. "Not this ranch, not his children, not anything. The devil will be defeated."
Later, an SUV with doors open blasted "Thriller," "Billie Jean" and "Smooth Criminal" as Horton and others mimicked Jackson's dance moves on the winding two-lane road lined with horse ranches and green and yellow hills.
Little more than an hour into Monday's session, jurors told the judge they had a question. The query and its resolution were not publicly disclosed, drawing a protest from news organizations.
Media pool coordinator Peter Shaplen said Judge Rodney S. Melville (search) met with lawyers in his chambers to discuss the question and how it would be answered, but Melville did not plan to reveal to the public any details.
The procedure was considered unusual. Normally, questions from the jury are a public record since they are submitted in writing by the jury foreperson.
An attorney for news organizations including The Associated Press filed motions seeking a transcript of Monday's closed proceedings, immediate access to any questions from the jury, and to any proceedings concerning those questions.
The singer's fans were outnumbered Monday by an international throng of reporters, photographers and TV crews anticipating any hint of development in the high-profile case.
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans, Trace Gallagher and The Associated Press contributed to this report.