Thompson's Last Ditch Effort For Freedom Shot Down

Author: Ian Cull, KXLY4 Multimedia Journalist, ianc@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 19 2011 06:11:56 AM PST   Updated On: Dec 19 2011 06:36:47 AM PST
SPOKANE -

A last ditch effort to keep Karl Thompson out of prison is shot down in federal court Monday. Thompson is the Spokane Police Officer convicted of using excessive force in the incident with Otto Zehm in 2006. His lawyer's motion for an acquittal was denied.

"We have to get going here and get this over with, so definitely a relief," Otto Zehm's cousin Dale Zehm said after the hearing.

At 11 a.m. Monday morning Judge Van Sickle heard a motion brought forward by Thompson's lawyers asking for acquittal. They argued if the verdict is upheld, evidence needed to prove Thompson willfully acted with bad or evil intent when he confronted Zehm at a Zip Trip in March 2006.

Prosecutors said the element of willfulness is often proven by circumstantial evidence. They believe the evidence was good enough to prove that.

After hearing both sides, Judge Van Sickle said for Karl Thompson to act willfully means he had intended to deprive Otto Zehm of his constitutional rights. That's what the jury found when they convicted Thompson and he said a reasonable jury could reach that conclusion with the evidence presented.

The judge denied the motion and Zehm's family members say they're satisfied.

"It is still going with the procedures of the justice system and the court, and we're very glad it worked out the way it did," Dale Zehm said.

Thompson is scheduled to be sentenced January 27th. He faces six to eight years in federal prison.