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June 11, 2014

Jury finds Eddie Thompson guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, first-degree burglary

NORMAN — The only emotion shown by defendant Eddie Thompson during his jury trial seemed to be during a closing statement Tuesday by Assistant District Attorney Susan Caswell.

He was emotionless throughout the trial, emotionless when the guilty verdicts were read and emotionless when he learned the jury requested he receive life in prison without parole for the first-degree murder of Arthur Strozewski.

The jury also requested Thompson, 35, serve life sentences for two counts of kidnapping and one count of first-degree burglary after learning he had five prior felony convictions.

Thompson was charged conjointly with Sebastian Shepherd and Loretta Hawks. A jury trial is scheduled to begin today for Hawks at the Cleveland County Courthouse.

Early Tuesday morning, the jury heard ADA Christy Miller give the initial closing statement, followed by defense attorney Kevin Finlay’s closing statement. The final closing statement was given by Caswell, which seemed to make the most impact, reaching not only the jury but Thompson, as well.

Caswell began by reminding the jury that during the selection process for jurors, she talked to them about evidence.

“You have more evidence in this case than exists in most cases that are tried in the country,” she said.

She and Miller talked to the jurors about how it would be nice to have eyewitnesses, DNA, fingerprints, video and maybe a confession. Nearly all of those pieces of evidence were provided throughout the trial, she said as her voice gradually became louder.

“I submit to you, you have almost all those things in this case that tells you that Eddie Thompson is a murderer,” Caswell yelled, pointing aggressively at Thompson as his eyes quickly shifted downward and he bent his head, as if to avoid everyone’s gaze.

Out of all of the evidence shown — photos of a blood-soaked bedroom, Thompson’s blood-soaked clothes, the bloody knife found hidden in the victim’s home, photos of grotesque stab wounds on Strozewski’s body after the crime — through all of that Thompson had remained complacent.

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