On Tuesday, April 20, 2010, a Johnson County jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty for Mark Thompson’s criminal jury trial.
The defendant was charged with Burglary in the Third Degree (a class D Felony).
The state alleged that the defendant entered the downtown apartment of the victim without permission, left behind some clothing, stole some clothing and perhaps some items from the refrigerator.
Obviously that does not sound like a typical burglary. And apparently the jury agreed.
At trial, Mark Thompson pointed out the prior friendly relationship the victim and the defendant held. Mark called a witness who testified that she thought the defendant and victim were roommates, based on the number of times she had seen them together at the apartment.
The State argued that a window had been used to enter and/or exit the apartment. But on cross examination, the victim admitted that he has used the window to enter and exit the apartment because he lost his key. The victim also admitted that he had previously given his name and phone number to the defendant on a piece of paper, which was admitted as part of the State’s evidence. This paper was used to confirm the friendly relationship the parties shared.
The jury also the option of returning a guilty verdict for the lesser-included offense of Criminal Trespass. The jury did not know that a Burglary charge carries up to a 5-year prison sentence, and the Criminal Trespass charge carries up to a 30-day jail sentence.
Nonetheless, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.