Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 25, 2013

Hung jury in ex-cop sex crime case

BEULAH — A Benzie County jury couldn’t decide what to do with a sex crime leveled against a former Manistee city police officer.

Matthew Shane Thompson, 40, was charged in Benzie County with a single count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Jurors late Friday said they couldn’t unanimously acquit or convict Thompson, resulting in a mistrial due to what’s commonly known as a “hung jury.”

Benzie County Prosecutor Sara M. Mason said she has the option to re-charge in the case, but has yet to figure out her next steps.

“We’re going to talk to everybody involved and make a decision,” she said.

The charge stemmed from the alleged assault of a female relative between 1987 and 1994, court documents show. He initially was charged with a second count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct tied to another victim, but that count was dismissed prior to trial after that alleged victim failed to show up for a court hearing.

The trial started Wednesday, and the jury began deliberations at about 2 p.m. Thursday. Jurors deliberated until about 3:30 p.m. Friday before a mistrial was declared.

Thompson worked for 10 years as a police officer at the Manistee Police Department. He left the department in 2006 about the time he was convicted of domestic violence, Manistee Chief David Bachman said previously.

Thompson was charged in Benzie County because authorities believe the crimes happened when he lived there several years ago.

Defense attorney Craig Elhart said he would be “very disappointed” if Mason issued a fresh charge.

“Obviously, (jurors) were uncertain as to what occurred,” he said. “A case that happened 20 years ago probably needs to be done now.”

Thompson was on bond. His bond will be returned to him and he will have no further ties to the court on the matter unless he’s recharged.

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