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Courts and Crime

Deliberations to begin tomorrow in charity-scam case against Bobby Thompson
The five-week trial ended on an abrupt and bizarre note

Kevin Niedermier
Defendant Bobby Thompson (R) confers with his attorney Joseph Patituce about testifying on his own behalf. An irritated Judge Steven Gall is on the bench.
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After an unusual day in court today, jury deliberations should begin tomorrow in the Cleveland trial of the former fugitive known as Bobby Thompson.

Thompson is accused of stealing as much as $100 million from a Navy veteran’s charity he started before going underground. As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, Thompson’s defense rested today after the defendant refused to testify as expected.

LISTEN: Thompson and his trial delays

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The court proceedings started nearly an hour and a half late because Thompson, whose real name is John Cody, reportedly refused to leave his jail cell. When he finally arrived, he looked disheveled, with his long hair tangled and his shirt unbuttoned. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Steven Gall asked him if he wanted to testify on his behalf, but Thompson wouldn’t answer.

“It’s a simple question I’m asking you sir. Do you wish to testify or not, yes or no? Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson!  You don’t need to whisper in Mr. Patituce’s ear, you can look right at me and say the word 'yes' or 'no.' Would you like to testify on your own behalf or not?”

Gall then asked Thompson if he would like to return to his cell and clean up before deciding if he would testify. Thompson agreed to take care of his hair and clothes, but through his attorney Joseph Patituce, declined to take the stand.

Patituce says there was concern his mental and physical condition during a cross examination. That’s because of an incident last week when Thompson repeatedly banged his head against a cell wall.

Thompson faces 24 charges including identity theft and money laundering. He was arrested last year in Oregon after two years on the run.

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