SPOKANE-- A judge ruled Friday morning to send Karl Thompson to jail as he awaits sentencing.
Karl Thompson walked away from the Yakima courthouse Wednesday after he heard the guilty verdict.
A hearing regarding Thompson's detention was scheduled Thursday, but the judge said it would take another day to decide. The ruling to take Thompson into custody was announced at another hearing 10:00 a.m. Friday.
During Friday's proceedings, U.S. Magistrate James Hutton said that the defense has not presented a strong enough case to avoid Thompson's detention, and that the government had presented its case better. The judge mentioned the violent nature of the crime. He said a conviction can make a defendant do things out of character.
Following the reaction by some Spokane Police Officers, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick released the following joint statement:
“We have acknowledged the pain that many of our officers feel as a result of the Thompson verdict, but it has been widely reported to us that the courtroom behavior of some officers, though protected as free speech, does not reflect the values we stand for. It clearly was insensitive to the friends and family of Otto Zehm, and for that, we apologize. We had previously directed that officers could not be in the courtroom while on duty. Still, on duty or not, we expect our officers—because of their position in the community—to live up to a high professional standard.”
Thursday's hearing felt tense on both sides, as the defense tried to show errors in the original trial. The defense attorneys said they want to see the conviction overturned, and alleged jurors watched TV during the proceedings. Attorneys believe Thompson's right to a fair trial was compromised.
Jurors in the Karl Thompson criminal trial stayed in the same Yakima hotel as attorneys. Thompson's defense attorney Carl Oreskovich says TV monitors played in the hotel lobby during breakfast. He believes jurors may have seen trial coverage. KREM 2's sister station Northwest Cable News airs in Yakima and has covered the trial.
He argued jurors asked for more information about Zehm. Prosecutors say if jurors had not watched TV news they would not have asked the questions that they did.
Defense attorneys requested a new trial because they say the government “came in the back door with what they couldn't do through the front door."