Thompson Found Guilty Of Child Abuse Resulting In Death

Mistrial Declared On 2 'Abuse Of A Corpse' Charges

After nine days of deliberating, the jury finally reached a verdict in the Aaron Thompson case Monday afternoon.

Thompson was found guilty of child abuse resulting in death in the disappearance and presumed death of his daughter, Aarone.

He was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit child abuse, false reporting to authorities, concealing death, conspiracy to conceal death, child abuse resulting in injury, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and other charges. Overall, he was found guilty on 31 counts and not guilty on 22 counts.

The jury could not reach a unanimous decision on two counts -- abuse of a corpse and conspiracy to commit abuse of a corpse -- so a mistrial was declared on those two charges.

However, jurors told 7NEWS that they decided early on that Thompson was guilty of child abuse resulting in death.

"That was taken care of pretty quick," said Juror No. 2166, who did not wish to be identified. "I'd say it took two days."

Juror No. 2019 agreed -- Thompson killed his daughter, although prosecutors never said exactly how.

"The evidence was left very unclear and left for some interpretation. But overall, I had no issue with that," Juror No. 2019 said.

The jurors also agreed on one other thing -- they are glad it's finally over.

"Relieved. A sense of completion," Juror No. 2166 said. "I'm still torn. There's still so many different charges but I guess relieved."

"I have a 1-year-old. So it was really tough to hear and think about that happening to my child. I was in tears a lot, I think," said a female juror.

Attorney Phil Cherner said the first three guilty charges alone will probably put Thompson in prison for the rest of his life. Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 10.

Prosecutors expressed relief over the mixed verdict, knowing that Thompson was found guilty of the most serious charges.

"It's one step closer for justice for Aarone. I think if you were ask that question to the police, to (Detective) Randy Hansen, I think they would say justice would be the day that they find her body," said prosecutor Bob Chappell.

Defense attorneys did not speak to reporters, only saying they will appeal the verdict.

Thompson showed no emotion when the verdict was read in the packed Arapahoe County courtroom. As was typical of his actions throughout the trial, he did not move nor speak.

At a news conference Monday night, Aurora police Chief Dan Oats said he was pleased with the verdict.

"The members of this jury heard children testify about unspeakable abuses that they endured for many years in the Thompson household and about the hellish world that they woke up to every morning. And they heard about a little girl who spent much of her short life confined to a coat closet and who disappeared into thin air one morning and has never been heard from or seen from again," Oates said.

Even though prosecutors believed Aarone was killed years ago -- perhaps in 2004 or earlier -- her body has never been found.

"We said this case was not about quick answers or about making our critics or the media happy. This case was always about justice for Aarone. It's sad to report this evening that even though this has been a great victory for the people Colorado and for Aarone, this case is not complete. There's one piece of this tragedy that is still unresolved. Our hope is that Aaron Thompson somehow finds in himself, in the days ahead, at least enough shred of decency to tell us, to reveal to our investigators, the location of little Aarone's remains," Oates said.

He thanked the hundreds of police officers and civilians in the police department who had a hand in the case and worked hard to bring justice to Aarone.

"This was a comprehensive team effort and this was the most difficult and complex case that I have witnessed in my entire career," Oates said.

Thompson reported Aarone missing in November 2005, when she would have been 6, but prosecutors believe she may have died about two years earlier.

A lot of the testimony over the six-week trial came from the seven children who lived in the home with Thompson and his girlfriend, Shely Lowe. All but one of the children testified in person, saying they suffered horrific abuse at the hands of Thompson and Lowe.

The jury also heard more than 24 hours of video-recorded and audio-recorded testimony.

Thompson did not testify during the trial. His attorneys admit that Thompson lied about what happened to Aarone, but that he did not kill her. Defense attorneys blame Lowe for killing Aarone.

According to the charges, the jury found that Thompson was guilty of killing Aarone and covering her body, but found him not guilty of some of the child abuse charges resulting from the testimony of the older teens.

This has been a lengthy case. Jury selection started eight weeks ago Monday. Testimony took just over three weeks and the jury took almost two weeks to reach its verdict.

Jury Deadlocked On 2 Charges

Earlier in the day, at about noon, the jury said it reached a unanimous decision on 51 of the 55 counts but was deadlocked on the charges of abuse of a corpse and conspiracy to commit abuse of a corpse, as well as two heavily contested abuse charges involving one of the most emotional witnesses.

The judge asked the jury if further deliberations would help them come up with a verdict in the abuse of a corpse charges. The jury foreman said no.

The district attorney had previously agreed to leave those two abuse of a corpse charges "as hung" and eligible for mistrial if the jury could not reach a unanimous decision.

The jury was also asked, in reference to the other two abuse charges, if they were deadlocked on the issue of guilt or the degree of guilt. The jury foreman said that they were deadlocked on the degree of guilt.

The judge then asked the jury to look at lesser included offenses connected to those charges.

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