After a little over two hours deliberating jury found the Readstown police chief guilty of three counts of felony misconduct in office. Shay Larson was found guilty of three felony counts of misconduct as the result of an incident in Dec 2009. Three people told investigators and testified in Vernon County court on Tuesday that Larson saw them drinking in a vehicle in a Readstown park in 2009 and he did nothing. They also said Larson told one of them to “put the bottle away” so no one would see they were drinking.
Defense Atty Louis Delgado raised issues of credibility with witnesses Kim Cimfl, Andrea Clark and Bert Lasse when their testimony conflicted with written statements and previous testimony. The three were confused about dates and times but said they remembered “partying with a cop” on or arounf Dec. 3 2009 which was Lasses’ birthday. Time records presented from the Village of Readstown shows Larson was not on duty on Dec. 1, 2009. The witnesses later said it may have been Dec. 2. Delgado questioned the credibility of the three witnesses who admitted they had been drinking for 36 hours straight at the time of the incident and eight previous convictions between the three for various charges.
Delgado also argued that even if they information provided is credible Larson had wide discretion as a law enforcement officer to handle individual incidents differently and said do nothing is an option for law enforcement if some situations.
District Attorney Tim Gaskell admitted to jurors in closing arguments there were problems with the witnesses and he was not going to attempt “make a silk purse out of a sows ear”, but Gaskell said, the three had been consistent that they had been drinking in a vehicle in the presence of Larson at the park around Dec. 1 and he did nothing to stop them.
Larson could face up 3.5 years in prison on each charge and a $10,000 fine. Larson also faces six other felonies in a separate court proceeding on various charges including fourth degree sexual assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. Those are all misdemeanor charges. Larson will be back in court on Nov. 5 to face those charges.