By Ed Runyan
Jurors needed only one hour of deliberation to find John A. Thompson, 40, of Mecca and Warren guilty of aggravated burglary and kidnapping at the end of a three-day trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
Thompson’s attorney, Alan Matavich, told jurors in his closing arguments that Warren Township police left “holes” in its case against Thompson by not having the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation conduct DNA and other forensic testing on a crowbar and other evidence from the June 15 burglary.
“There’s holes in this case,” Matavich said. “There’s a hole that could have been plugged. It could have been plugged by DNA, with forensic evidence, and that’s why you should find John Thompson not guilty.”
But Gina Buccino Arnaut, assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said there was no failure by police to have the materials tested.
“DNA is not available in all cases,” she said. “In this case, DNA was not present.”
Furthermore, the real evidence in this case was the eyewitness testimony of the North Park Avenue woman and her son, who were the victims of the burglary, Buccino Arnaut said.
Though Thompson wore a bandanna on his face when he broke in that night holding a crowbar and ordered the woman around her home, putting items in a bag as they walked, the woman could still identify him, Buccino Arnaut said.
And, when a Warren Township police officer arrived in the middle of the home invasion and confronted him, Thompson’s mask fell down, revealing his face, Buccino Arnaut said.
The officer struggled with the intruder, but the intruder started to run. The woman’s son also confronted the intruder, taking the bag from him containing stolen items.
The intruder ran into the woods, but a police officer and his canine captured him a short time later as he left a wooded area along North River Road.
The woman, her son and the police officer identified Thompson as the man who committed the burglary and kidnapping of the woman, Buccino Arnaut said. The three identified Thompson as the intruder, including the clothes he wore, she said.
Thompson could get about 20 years in prison when Judge Peter Kontos sentences him Jan. 13.