A jury returned a mixed verdict for a Grover Beach man accused of attacking two local police officers, one of whom later shot him. They acquitted him of felony charges but convicted him on lesser offenses stemming from the October incident.
The San Luis Obispo Superior Court jury found Randal Corvey, 50, not guilty of assault on a police officer — a felony. But jurors ruled he was guilty of the misdemeanors of simple assault, resisting arrest and using an illegal drug.
One juror, 68-year-old Vernon Jones of Atascadero, said jurors didn’t think the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Corvey had charged and attacked the officers as Deputy District Attorney Matt Kraut alleged.
The location of physical evidence, including blood drops, showed that the Grover Beach police officers could have approached Corvey as they warned him to comply with orders to drop a glass bottle when the fight occurred, Jones said.
Corvey was also acquitted of attempting to take a firearm away from an officer and possession of a deadly weapon — fighting stars that were kept in a display case, his attorney said.
Judge Barry LaBarbera lowered Corvey’s bail to $10,000 from $1 million Thursday. A sentencing date wasn’t discussed after the verdict.
Dressed in a blue shirt and black slacks, Corvey wiped away tears when the verdict was read. Family members in attendance appeared tearful as well.
“This makes it all worth it,” said Thomas McCormick, Corvey’s attorney, outside the courtroom. “This is a good result.”
A bail hearing is scheduled for today, and McCormick said he expected to seek his client’s release from County Jail on a promise to appear pending his sentencing. He said his client has been in jail for 10 1⁄2 months.
McCormick said the officers testified the fight occurred closer to a gate where they entered Corvey’s backyard than to his residence.
The defense attorney argued that evidence showed the altercation might have taken place closer to the house, which suggested the officers approached Corvey after he failed to comply with their orders.
Officer Mike Hollis testified that he fired a shot that grazed Corvey’s head during the struggle and that Corvey grabbed at the barrel of his gun.
But Jones said jurors considered that no evidence showed Corvey’s fingerprints on the gun.
Hollis also testified that the gun jammed when Corvey grabbed the barrel.
Jones said jurors believed the gun could have touched the ground, though, which also could have caused it to jam.
In an interview with District Attorney’s Office investigators, Corvey said he pushed the gun away from his face about the moment it was fired.
He had admitted to investigators that he was under the influence of methamphetamine Oct. 18 when the officers came to his backyard.