BELLEFONTE — A group of tourists on a bus trip from Wisconsin to New York stopped here Friday afternoon. They had lunch, poked around an antique store and checked out the courtroom where the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial is unfolding.
In a Green Bay Packers golf shirt, Wayne Barrett, of Ontario, Wis., took a seat in the judges chair in the main courtroom thats been occupied this week by no one else but Senior Judge John Cleland.
Barrett banged the gavel as some other members of his group snapped pictures.
We were nosy, said Barb Hansen, of Norwalk, Wis., who was one of 37 people on the tour.
Had the tour group arrived in Bellefonte a day earlier, the Wisconsinites wouldnt have been able to walk into the courtroom so freely, let alone plop down in the judges seat.
But things on Friday were much quieter in downtown Bellefonte, as the only signs of the trial were a tin of Altoids left by prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III on the prosecutions table and the electronic equipment still in place.
Outside, the brash TV news reporters, quick to pounce on attorneys for an interview, mostly had left. The loud, humming satellite news trucks in front of the courthouse were replaced by a stage for the annual Bellefonte Cruise, which opened Friday.
Worries about the trial interrupting the start of the cruise were allayed when the judge said thered be no court Friday and excused the 16 jurors until Monday for a three-day weekend.
Everything has gone extremely well, county Court Administrator Maxine Ishler said Friday about the frenzied atmosphere the Sandusky trial brought into the county seat.
There have been no problems reported, she said no word from the jurors about anyone talking to them or trying to tamper with them, and no protesters showing up, even though there is a designated space for them.
In addition to media, about 60 people a day on average are attending the trial, Ishler said. There are 85 seats reserved for the public.
Two of the visitors were Kay and Luisa Reyes, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., who were here for several days and left Thursday.
They came as a show of support for the young men who testified that they had been abused.
We admire their bravery and their courage, Kay Reyes said on Thursday before heading back to Alabama. Theyve done nothing wrong.
Those in the tour group from Wisconsin spent Thursday night in Clarion and were due to arrive in New York later Friday.
Another tour group from their area heading back from New York to Wisconsin earlier this week also stopped in Bellefonte.
Barrett, the one who climbed into the judges chair, said someone he knows caught a glimpse of one of the star witnesses for the prosecution.
Whos the redhead? he said, an apparent reference to former Penn State player and assistant coach Mike McQueary.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Monday.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT