Prosecution Rests Its Case In Thompson Trial - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Prosecution Rests Its Case In Thompson Trial

SPOKANE, Wash. - The prosecution rested its case Monday in the trial of Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson, and just after one o' clock, the defense began calling witnesses to the stand. Thompson is charged with using excessive force and lying to investigators in the 2006 death of Otto Zehm. Shortly after the prosecution rested its case this morning, Defense Attorney Carl Oreskovich asked Judge Van Sickle to throw out the excessive force charge as he said the prosecution did not prove Thompson should be charged with that. The judge disagreed and kept it in the case.

It called its final two witnesses to the stand before noon today, an FBI agent and a former Zip Trip employee. But the biggest testimony of the day came from Dr. James Nania, an emergency physician who worked for many years at Deaconess. He said there is absolutely no medical evidence showing that Zehm was struck in the head with a baton. That completely goes against what several witnesses, called to the stand by the prosecution, testified last week. If Thompson did indeed hit Zehm in the head with a baton, that's considered lethal force, and that could be devastating to the officer facing an excessive force charge.

Court went long on Monday because the government questioned the expert status of the last witness, but Judge Van Sickle ended up letting Dr. William Lewinski testify. Lewinski is an expert on how memory is affected following a traumatic event.

Judge Van Sickle made several comments late this afternoon on his genuine frustrations with the number of pre-trial motions in this case. He said in his 35 years as a judge, he's never spent this much time on them, and he's not happy he is for the Karl Thompson Trial. Court resumes Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. in Yakima.

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