The Verdict

Karl Thompson found guilty in Zehm death

It happened in Yakima. More than five years after Otto Zehm walked into a Spokane Zip Trip to buy Pepsi and a Snickers.

A jury of 12 heard the evidence against Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson — who beat Zehm 13 times with a baton inside the Zip Trip — and found the veteran officer guilty of using excessive force and lying to federal investigators.

The jury reached a verdict this afternoon after about two days of deliberation, and after four weeks of trial testimony. Their decision was unanimous. It was first read by the judge, who then asked each member of the jury to raise their hands if they supported the verdict. The judge then thanked them for their service and dismissed them to retrieve their belongings and go home.

Thompson was also allowed to go home for now. Federal prosecutors had asked the judge to immediately detain him, but the judge delayed that decision until a future hearing.


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About The Author

Jacob H. Fries

Jacob H. Fries is the editor of the Inlander. In that position, he oversees editorial coverage of the paper and occasionally contributes his own writing. Before joining the paper, he wrote for numerous publications, including the Tampa Bay Times, the Boston Globe and the New York Times. He grew up in Spokane Valley...