Jury finds Columbia man guilty of murder after week long trial
COLUMBIA - A Boone County jury has found a Columbia man guilty of first-degree murder after a week long trial ending Friday. James Thompson is accused of hiring a hit man to kill his lover, Brian Daniels in April 2013. The jury deliberated for nearly six hours Friday and returned a verdict just after 4 p.m. Sentencing is set for March 2.
Prosecutors and the defense wrapped up closing arguments Friday morning during day five of the murder for hire trial.
Judge Christine Carpenter heard the case.
Thursday, the defense called five witnesses, with the defendant, James Thompson taking the stand for several hours as the key witness in his own defense. The defense asked Thompson about his relationship with Daniels as well as several other people connected to the case. They also asked about events leading up to the alleged murder.
To read Thompson's in depth testimony click here.
Wednesday, prosecutors rested their case against Thompson after calling dozens of witnesses over two days. Two ADT Security technicians, two Columbia Police detectives and the ex-girlfriend of Christopher Hurt, a friend of Thompson's, all testified.
Prosecutors played video of CPD Detective Brian Liebhart's interrogation of Thompson in which at one point during Liebhart's questioning, Thompson became frustrated and said, "I did not murder him...I did not kill him." Later in the video, Liebhart questioned Thompson's emotional response to Daniels' death and Thompson said, "I care about that man, I love him."
Prosecutors spent Tuesday calling several witnesses, including several police detectives, a bank teller, mail carrier, the medical examiner and a pawn shop owner. To read their in depth testimony click here.
Thompson's trial began Monday with jury selection and the prosecution calling its first witnesses - a Columbia Police officer who responded to Daniels' home the day of the alleged crime and a detective who testified that Thompson told him where Daniels kept his will and that Thompson was listed as Daniels' beneficiary.
Thompson is pictured above in court Tuesday courtesy of the Columbia Daily Tribune.
[This story is being continually updated with the latest information from court.]