Jury deadlocked on whether to free purported psychic from custody

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comJune 6, 2013 

After a jury failed to reach a decision on whether or not he should be freed from a state hospital, a self-proclaimed psychic and karate expert will learn June 17 whether the District Attorney’s Office plans to challenge his petition for release again.

James Hydrick, 54, appeared on multiple TV shows in the 80s — including “That’s Incredible” and “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” — demonstrating the purported power of the mind. He also gained notoriety after escaping from jails and prisons in three different states. But he’s been in prison or state hospital since 1989, when he was convicted of molesting six boys in Orange County.

Having served his 17-year prison term, he has been detained at Atascadero State Hospital and now Coalinga State Hospital for treatment under the state’s sexually violent predator law. After Hydrick petitioned for release, a trial wound up with a hung jury this month. As a result, the prosecution can either drop its challenge or pursue another trial, which it will announce at a June 17 hearing.

If the prosecution does not challenge the petition, Hydrick will be released.

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