Witnesses Appear in Post-trial Motion for Patrick Thompson

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A motion for a retrial filed by attorney Robert Kirchner on
behalf of Patrick Thompson was heard Thursday, January
5, 2007. Nearly 50 of Thompson’s supporters were in the
courtroom. In July 2006, Thompson was found guilty of
home invasion and sexual abuse. Thompson is facing 6-
30 years for what his supporters believe is retribution for
his political activism. Patrick Thompson is one of the
videographers that created the controversial documentary
Citizens’ Watch in 2004 that exposed the unfair treatment
of the black community by local police.
The post-trial motion was turned into a trial-within-atrial
by attorney Robert Kirchner and assistant Ruth
Wyman. Ineffective counsel was the underlying theme of
Kirchner’s lengthy motion for a retrial. In the July 2006
trial, attorney Harvey Welch had called only one witness
for the defense. On Thursday, Kirchner called a total of six
witnesses: Thomas Tarr, correctional officer; Susan Frick,
jail nurse; Terrence Ware, accuser’s co-worker at Provena;
Michael Hediger, Urbana officer; Maria Thompson,
Patrick’s wife; and Dawn Miller, the accuser’s former
friend. The testimony of these witnesses, in addition to
legal arguments, builds the case that a jury has not heard
all the evidence and Thompson has not received a fair trial.
Thomas Tarr was the correctional officer that processed
Thompson when he was taken to jail on August 24, 2004.
Tarr testified to filling out a medical intake form at 2:56 p.m.
and indicated that Susan Frick had also checked Thompson.
Susan Frick was the staff nurse who examined Thompson.
She testified that she had indicated on her form that
Thompson had said he had hit his hand on a metal object
and that she had taped his fingers. We find out later from
Maria Thompson that Patrick had been wearing a splint on
the index finger of his right hand, which was never identified
by the accuser.
Terrence Ware worked with the accuser. What was a
bombshell to many in the courtroom, Ware testified that
the accuser was on time to work at 7 a.m. on August 24,
2006 (contrary to her testimony she was late) and that she
acted like nothing was wrong. Ware worked at Provena for
four years and said he knew the accuser because he bought
DVDs from her. When he heard that the police had arrived
that day because the accuser said she had been raped, his
response was, “She’s at it again.”
Ware said that in 2003 the accuser had made allegations
that he had showed her his private parts. Ware, an
African American, said that he was aware of other incidents
where the accuser had made sexual allegations
against other men of color. When this white woman
accused Ware, he was suspended from his job and nearly
fired. Like the entire Thompson trial, Ware’s story is further
evidence of how the charges of rape by a white
woman can destroy the life of a black man in America.
Urbana officer Hediger was the first cop who was on
the scene, filled out a police report, and arrested Thompson.
Kirchner questioned Hediger’s report which states
that the accuser was “yelling” and “screaming” when she
was allegedly attacked and testified that these were her
words. Kirchner highlighted the accuser’s inconsistent
statements that she was “not a yeller” and had spoken just
above a talking voice. Kirchner also verified that the
accuser made no mention of a finger splint.
When Maria Thompson took the stand, she was calm,
confident, and brave. Ruth Wyman questioned her about
the morning of August 24, 2004. Maria said she awoke at
6:10 a.m. and her husband was in the shower. Between
that time and approximately 7:30 a.m. when Patrick left to
attend the first day of class at Parkland College, she was
with him the entire time.
Maria also testified that Patrick had been wearing a
splint on the index finger of his right hand. She said they
had gone to Osco the previous Sunday because Patrick’s
finger had become so painful. The splint had a metal backing,
blue foam, and was wrapped with tape. He had worn
it all week and did not take it off in the shower. This splint
has never been identified by the accuser.
Ruth Wyman asked Maria if she had ever been interviewed
by Harvey Welch. Maria said no and that she had
told Welch during the trial that she wanted to testify.
Welch told her it was not a good idea and that her testimony
would not help. Of course, Maria’s testimony is Patrick
Thompson’s sole alibi.
Lastly, Dawn Miller was a fellow resident at Sunny Crest
2 Apartments and testified that she was with the accuser
the night of the alleged incident. Miller had known the
accuser for about three weeks. Nearly every night between
8 p.m. and midnight she was at the accuser’s apartment
drinking and playing cards. On August 24, 2004, they
were once again at the accuser’s apartment. Miller said the
accuser acted like her normal self and there were no signs
that she had been assaulted.
Miller said that when Special Prosecutor Michael
Vujovich spoke with her, he told her not to talk to
Patrick Thompson’s lawyer. He then did not call her to
testify. According to Miller, it was because, “If I took the
stand, I’d hurt her [the accuser’s] case.” Miller also said
she was never contacted by attorney Harvey Welch in
the second trial.
Time had run out before Kirchner had the chance to
call all the witnesses he had subpoenaed. A continuance
was granted until February 7 at 9 a.m. in courtroom A to
hear the other witnesses. Others on the witness list
include: Anthony Bates, the former boyfriend of the
accuser; Harvey Welch, Thompson’s attorney in the second
trail; as well as the accuser.

About Brian Dolinar

Brian Dolinar has been a community journalist since 2004.
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