Tuesday, October 19, 1999

Second mistrial
ruled in Mililani
sex assaults

Jurors deadlocked on all counts
against a former prison guard;
prosecutors say they'll
try again

By Debra Barayuga


Two trials and two mistrials later, James Allen Thompson still hasn't gotten justice, his attorney says.

Neither has justice been served for his five victims, prosecutors say.

Circuit Judge Wendell Huddy yesterday declared a mistrial in the second sex assault trial of Thompson, charged with a series of sex assaults and attempted sex assaults involving five Mililani girls ages 14 to 16 between January and September 1997.

After nearly four full days of deliberations, a Circuit Court jury declared they were deadlocked and could not reach a unanimous verdict on any of the 22 counts of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault and kidnapping he was charged with.

The jury also said giving them more time to deliberate would not change their minds.

Prosecutors say they plan on taking Thompson, a former prison guard, to trial a third time.

"We will go back and retry the defendant and seek justice," said deputy prosecutor Paul Wong. "We haven't reached that yet."

A mistrial was granted during Thompson's first trial in July 1998 after the judge ruled the prosecutor's remarks may have deprived him of a fair trial.

"Prosecutors didn't prove their case," deputy public defender Todd Eddins said yesterday. While his client is glad he wasn't found guilty as charged, "twice is enough."

Eddins said he will ask the court to dismiss the charges against his client, reduce the $750,000 bail or grant him supervised release. Thompson, 38, has been behind bars since his arrest in September 1997.

Thompson was charged with accosting five girls in Mililani, abducting three of them at knifepoint and driving them to a remote pineapple field where he allegedly forced them to perform oral sex. The fourth managed to escape and another accused him of masturbating in front of her in his car when he stopped to ask her for directions.

Jury forewoman Darlene Andrews said the credibility of witnesses, including that of the defendant, was the biggest hurdle. "That wasn't clear-cut."

While jurors unanimously agreed that the five victims had testified truthfully to what had happened to them, whether the defendant committed them is where jurors ran into trouble, she said.

Earlier, Andrews told the court that jurors' votes had been divided.

Some votes showed nine for guilty vs. three for acquittal; another vote was seven for guilty against five for acquittal.

The defense had maintained all along that Thompson was the wrong guy. During trial, Eddins pointed out inconsistencies in the victims' descriptions of their assailant and composite sketches that bore no resemblance to Thompson. He argued that there was no physical evidence directly linking his client to the alleged incidents.

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