JOPLIN, Mo. — After less than two hours of deliberating a jury has found Stephen Thompson guilty of charges of first degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and first degree assault. Those charges are in connection to a June 10, 2015 shooting that left Carissa Gerard dead and Kristina Thompson seriously injured.
The trial began Monday with prosecutors calling several witnesses to the stand over two days. Those witnesses included the Joplin police officer who first arrived on the scene, the officer who put him in handcuffs, the officer who drove him from the scene in a police car and the officer who interrogated him. Jurors also heard the neighbor who found Kristina Thompson injured and rendered her aid. They also heard from Kristina Thompson herself.
The defense got the chance to put their case before the jury on Wednesday, bringing up several witnesses of their own. Those included a neighbor who saw Stephen Thompson moments after the shooting, Thompson’s former parole officer and the man who adopted Thompson’s son.
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On Wednesday, attorneys on both sides got the chance to give their final arguments before handing the case over to the jury. The prosecution painted a picture of man who not only meant to kill the two women, but planned the murders ahead of time. While the defense argued that Thompson “wasn’t in a good place” and what happened was a “snowball” effect of everything going on around him.
After the verdict was reached, Prosecuting Attorney Theresa Kenney had some final thoughts.
“It was a long time coming,” said Kenney, as the charges had been filed over six years ago, initially seeking the death penalty. The death penalty was just taken off the table in August 2021.
“We were very pleased with the way the evidence came in… I think the compelling evidence in this case were the admissions of the defendant himself, who from the very beginning seemed to be almost proud…” she said.
Kenney believes that the verdict is exactly what this case and its evidence called for.
“We are extremely delighted with the result in this case. This was a fair and just verdict and quite honestly, the only verdict that this jury could’ve come back with given the evidence of Mr. Thompson’s guilt,” said Kenney. “On behalf of the family of Carissa Gerard and Kristina Thompson, we are very pleased and grateful for this verdict.”
Thompson’s sentencing will take place on October 29. Kenney says since Thompson is found guilty for murder in the first degree, the only option is life without parole. Regarding the armed criminal action and first degree domestic assault charges, she says he could be sentenced anywhere from ten to thirty years.
“It’s the state’s intention to seek the maximum amount of time on each and every one of these counts,” Kenney concluded.