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Akron: Jury recommends death penalty in Twinsburg officer's murder

1:49 PM, Jun 12, 2010   |    comments
Ashford L. Thompson, May 2010
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The jury began deliberating late Thursday afternoon after hearing from a number of witnesses, including Thompson.
He broke down on the stand and offered a tearful apology for Miktarian's murder.

The same jury convicted Thompson on June 3 on all charges.

Thompson will be sentenced by Judge Elinore Stormer on June 23. Jurors had the choice of recommending the death sentence, life without parole, life with eligibility for parole after 30 years or life with eligibility for parole after 25 years.

Officer Miktarian died July 13, 2008, after being shot four times in the head. He had pulled Thompson over for loud music in the driveway of Thompson's home just before 2 a.m.

Twinsburg Chief of Police, Christopher Noga issued the following statement following the jury's decision:

"The jury recognized the brutality of this case--that Officer Miktarian was executed in cold blood while faithfully and lawfully performing his duties as a police officer for the City of Twinsburg.  The jury saw through Thompson's false humility, observed his arrogant and callous disregard for the life of our friend as well as the laws of our society; and determined that the only proper sentence for his crime is death."

"On behalf of the City of Twinsburg, the Miktarian family, and law enforcement through the State of Ohio, I want to thank the jury for their service and their courage.  I am confident that the judge will impose the sentence recommended by this jury, and that the sentence will be carried out expeditiously."

Thompson and his attorneys never disputed he murdered Miktarian. The defense's strategy was to convince the jury there was no premeditation in the crime to try and spare his life.

"We believe the jury's recommendation that Ashford Thompson be put to death for killing Officer Miktarian is the right punishment for this cold blooded murder. Every time an officer puts on that badge he or she may be in harm's way, risking their lives for our safety and protection. Nothing can change the events of that night. A widow grieves, a child longs for her father, parents have buried a son, and we join fellow officers who mourn for an outstanding colleague," said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. 

Jurors who wished not to be identified tell Channel 3 their decision was tough but just.  "It was a very hard decsion," one juror told Channel 3's Chris Tye.  "This was very emotional and stressful.  I feel bad for both the Miktarians and the Thompsons." 




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