YAKIMA, Wa.-- Wednesday jurors found Officer Karl Thompson guilty of Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law and guilty of Falsifying Records in a Federal Investigation
Officer Karl Thompson was charged with violating the civil rights of 36-year-old Otto Zehm during a 2006 encounter in a convenience store and lying about the encounter afterward to investigators. Zehm died two days later.
In the days and months following the beating, prosecutors say Thompson worked to cover it up.
Jurors also found him guilty of lying to investigators.
The surveillance video revealing Zehm never lunged at Thompson and the alleged punches can't be seen.
Thompson’s attorney stated "we think we have represented an innocent man. And we fought long and hard for him and we will continue."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Durkin says, there are no winners in this case.
Thompson faces 10 years in prison and/or $250,000 fine on the Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law charges and 20 years in prison and/or $250,000 fine in the Falsification of Records in a Federal Investigation charges.
Each count was unanimous from the jury.
KREM 2’s Katie Utehs was live in the Yakima court room and said that as the guilty verdict was read Karl Thompson held his composure.
Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, held a press conference Wednesday concerning the verdict returned by the jury in the United States v. Carl Thompson case.
Because Judge Van Sickle did not set a sentencing date, Ormsby said the U.S. Attorney’s Office will take some time to carefully consider what sentence they will seek for Karl Thompson.
During today's proceeding attorneys did ask the judge to immediately incarcerate Thompson until sentencing.
Ormsby says this is common policy. “We did that because he was convicted of a violent crime. Under federal law we can seek immediate incarceration of somebody that is convicted of a violent crime.”
Judge Van Sickle deferred that request to the magistrate judge for consideration.