by Jacob Jones
After hearing comments from Otto Zehm's family and an entire day of legal arguments, U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle split sentencing recommendations from both sides and ordered former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson to serve more than four years in prison.
"This has been a long and difficult case," Van Sickle says.
A year after being found guilty of excessive force and lying to investigators about his violent confrontation with Zehm, Thompson was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals on Thursday evening. Zehm died on March 20, 2006, two days after he was repeatedly beaten, Tasered and hogtied during his arrest.
Van Sickle ordered Thompson to serve 51 months in all. He also ordered Thompson to comply with three years of supervision upon his release from prison and he cannot have any contact with Zehm's family.
Thompson's attorney Carl Oreskovich unsuccessfully argued for Thompson to be released pending consideration of an appeal. At the end of the hearing, Thompson was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.