Sentencing Day: Jury Forewoman in Thompson Case Wanted to See Mo - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sentencing Day: Jury Forewoman in Thompson Case Wanted to See More Jail Time

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash. - On the day former Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. was sentenced to more than four years for his role in the death of a Spokane man, the jury forewoman who helped decide Thompson's fate believes his punishment wasn't strict enough.

Diane Riley, the jury forewoman in the case, told KHQ that she believed Thompson should have received nine to 11 years behind bars, which was the recommendation of US Attorneys.

Last November, a jury convicted Thompson of using excessive force and lying to investigators to cover up his actions when he beat Otto Zehm inside a north Spokane Zip Trip on March 18, 2006. Zehm was beaten, shocked ,and hog-tied by police that night. Zehm died two days later at a Spokane hospital.

Five years and seven months after Zehm died, Nov. 2, 2011, the jury delivered the verdict in a federal courtroom in Yakima. Riley said the jury decided Thompson was guilty only after seeing all of the evidence.

In a phone interview Thursday Riley explained, "If it comes that he gets a fair sentence for what he did, it'll all be worth it. But if the sentence is going to be something that is just a slap on the hand then we can obviously see that there is something a little bit more at play than just justice."

With the exception of spending one night in Bonner County Jail, Thompson has been a free man from the day of his conviction. As such, Riley firmly believes Thompson received special treatment.

"I am very -- not angry -- but disappointed that he seems to be being treated special in that sentencing has taken a year," Riley continued. "I have a hard time sometimes being patient with this process and understanding why is it taking so long?"

Now that Thompson's been sentenced, Riley feels like she can put this chapter of her life behind her.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:42:05 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:45 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:45:06 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. >>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. In Spokane and Pend Oreille counties, several water systems are under boil-water advisories:ยท>>