Thompson Trial: Verdict Is In


By Aimee Burnett

Rupert, Idaho (KMVT-TV) The verdict is in for the Burley man accused of shooting and killing a man last December.

The trial that began Tuesday ended Friday with compelling and sometimes explosive closing arguments.

It was almost a year ago Michael Jared Thompson was arrested after a night out with friends that ended in the tragic death of someone he'd known for years.

Michael Jared Thompson sat emotionless in court Friday.

The 25–year old was accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 21–year old Michael Kenneth Blair.

During the trial, witness testimony revealed both men and two women were in Thompson's SUV in the early morning hours of December 17th…Thompson was driving and Blair was sitting behind him.

Blair was arguing with the woman in the front seat when Thompson pulled his unloaded 9 mm handgun from the center console and said...

"If one of you don't shut up I'm going to shoot one of you," said Lance Stevenson, Minidoka County Prosecutor.

He then loaded two bullets in the gun, and pointed it over his right shoulder.

Blair put the gun in his mouth and the gun went off.

At one point during the closing statements Defense Attorney Keith Roark exploded.

"He stipulated that that man there is the one that caused, produced the death because of his reckless actions," said Stevenson.

"Whoa your honor. That is absolutely a destruction. I never stipulated anything of the kind. I ask that be struck," said Roark.

Roark painted a much different picture of that tragic night.

He attributes Blair's death to the gun barrel being placed in Blair's mouth, which Blair did himself and the trigger pull, which there is no evidence to support either way who pulled the gun's trigger.

After a little over two hours the jury unanimously found Michael Jared Thompson guilty of involuntary manslaughter. It carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but with the weapons enhancement he's looking at a total of 25 years behind bars.

Sentencing is set for January 28th.

The judge asked that a substance abuse evaluation be completed prior to that date.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

KMVT Breaking News Alerts

Morning & Afternoon News Updates