UPDATE: Jury finds Jack Gillean guilty on all counts.
CLINTON — The question of Jack Gillean’s guilt or innocence on commercial burglary charges has been submitted to a Van Buren County Jury.
Gillean’s defense called no witnesses. In its questioning of the state’s witnesses, the defense’s goal was to cast doubt on the credibility of state witnesses who said they could corroborate the claim that Cameron Stark, a former UCA student worker in Gillean’s office and friend of the former UCA chief of staff, was given university master keys so that he could take test copies from professors’ offices in 2011 and 2012.
Stark was arrested in 2012 in connection with the office burglaries, and was caught with the master keys in his pocket.
Deputy Prosecutor Joan Shipley said in her closing statement that Gillean’s request for a different master key on March 7, 2012, coincides with Stark’s statement that he needed the different key to get into an office and that Gillean provided one.
Some of the state’s witnesses got dates “flat wrong,” Shipley acknowledged in her closing, but said that these inconsistencies can’t outweigh the testimony that Gillean gave Stark the keys.
Defense Attorney Tim Dudley countered in his closing statement that the inconsistencies in dates among Stark and two other key witnesses’s testimony are consistent in that they all seem to indicate that the burglaries and key exchanges started in 2010, but the physical and documentary evidence proves that the burglaries started in 2011.
“Maybe they did get together on their stories, but they got their dates wrong,” Dudley told the jury, and he also pointed out immunity given to witnesses Stark and Jared Santiago as reason to question their credibility.
“The government is so anxious to get a high-profile case with a high-profile defendant, that they’re willing to let the bad actors walk,” he said. Both Stark and Santiago have admitted to using the keys to break into offices and steal tests.
Dudley also asked the jury to consider whether there had been a “theft” in taking pictures or making copies of tests when, generally, nothing was physically taken from the offices. Commercial burglary requires that there be a break-in with a purpose to commit a crime punishable by imprisonment. In this case, the prosecution is arguing that the purpose of stealing tests amounts to theft of property. If there was no theft of property, Dudley said, the prosecution “didn’t charge this case right.”
A motion for directed verdict based on basically the same argument was denied by Judge Ed Clawson this morning.
Dudley also reminded the jury that in this case, Gillean cannot be convicted based on evidence provided by Stark unless that evidence is corroborated by other evidence or testimony.
Deputy Prosecutor Troy Braswell finished closing for the state, saying that the only person who had seriously tried to cast doubt on Stark’s credibility was Dudley, and that there is a “smoking gun” with the timing of Gillean’s request for a second key, wich opens no doors in the building where he works and which he’d done without for ten years, and one of the office burglaries.
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