Purported psychic and convicted child molester will face another trial

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comJuly 1, 2013 

The District Attorney’s Office will pursue a second trial in an effort to keep a well-known karate expert convicted of child molestation in a state hospital, it announced Monday.

James Hydrick, 54, was a former bounty hunter, martial arts teacher and self-proclaimed psychic who appeared on TV shows such as “That’s Incredible” and “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.” He was also a small-time criminal known for escaping from jails around the country.

That changed in the late ’80s, when he was charged with committing lewd and lascivious acts on several boys.

After pleading guilty, Hydrick was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Once his term ended, he was sent first to Atascadero State Hospital and then Coalinga State Hospital for treatment as a sexually violent predator.

During a trial that ended in June, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office asked a jury to keep him in a state hospital for further treatment while Hydrick argued for release. Because the jury’s deliberations ended in a hung jury, the prosecution announced Monday that it would pursue another trial, set to begin Oct. 21.

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