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After being handed a sentence Thursday of more than four years in federal prison – the culmination of six years of investigations, legal action and community soul-searching – former Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. walked away passively in handcuffs. U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle admonished the courtroom in advance that demonstrations of any kind would be inappropriate, and the sentence was greeted with silence by both Thompson and Zehm supporters.
A federal judge today sentenced former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. to 4 years and 3 months in prison.
Defense attorneys for convicted Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. filed a motion Friday claiming everything from judicial error to juror misconduct in their attempt to persuade a federal judge to grant a new trial for charges stemming from the fatal 2006 confrontation with Otto Zehm. The first allegation is one that has been presented twice – and twice rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle – that the government did not present sufficient evidence to show Thompson acted willfully, or with a bad or evil purpose, to deprive Zehm of his constitutional right to be free of unreasonable force.
A federal judge delayed a decision whether to take convicted Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. into custody after his defense attorney said Thursday that he will seek a new trial based on allegations of juror misconduct. Carl Oreskovich, Thompson’s attorney, said he witnessed jurors watching TV reports of the trial while it was under way.
YAKIMA – Jurors were asked Monday to decide whether Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. is a “rogue cop” and liar who hid behind a departmental coverup, or a “hero” who was protecting the public when he beat Otto Zehm with a baton 13 times and shocked him with a Taser. Deliberations in the excessive force trial began on what would have been Zehm’s 42nd birthday. He died without regaining consciousness following a violent March 18, 2006, police confrontation inside a Spokane convenience store after being mistakenly identified as a suspect in a possible theft.
A federal judge Tuesday moved the upcoming criminal trial of Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. to Yakima after defense attorneys raised concerns that local media coverage of Thompson’s fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm could bias a Spokane jury. U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle also ruled to exclude Spokane County residents from the jury pool. Potential jurors will be selected from a portion of Adams County and all of Franklin, Walla Walla, Yakima, Kittitas, Benton and Klickitat counties.
While attorneys got few final answers Thursday, they outlined the parameters that will determine the legal battleground for the Spokane police officer charged in the fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm. The attorney defending Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. acknowledged that federal prosecutors have a “slew of evidence” purportedly showing that his client used improper levels of force against Zehm.
The federal trial of Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. has a new date: March 7.
With a jury pool waiting in another room, a federal judge Monday postponed the criminal trial against Karl F. Thompson Jr. after prosecutors announced their intention to appeal his ruling that barred evidence showing Otto Zehm had not committed a crime before Thompson confronted him. U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle ruled that attorneys for both sides could not introduce evidence about Zehm’s mental illness, items found in Zehm’s pockets, or essentially anything that Thompson didn’t know before the confrontation on March 18, 2006.
Otto Zehm, U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle, Karl F. Thompson Jr., Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Durkin, Carl Oreskovich, Mayor Mary Verner; Terry Ferguson; Mark Burbridge; Victor Boutros; U.S. Department of Justice