Mistrial declared in murder/arson case

A mistrial has been declared in the Guthrie County district court case accusing Patrick Ryan Thompson, 27, of two counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of arson. The charges were filed following a fire on May 15, 2017, that killed Melanie “Paige” Exline, 12, and Shakiah Cockerham, 16.

The trial had been moved to Leon County due to pre-trial publicity. It was reported during the jury selection on Monday, Sept. 17, a member of the community gained entrance into the courtroom and discussed details of the case with prospective jury members. This situation allegedly occurred while the judge and attorneys were outside of the courtroom.

When the conversation was discovered, Thompson’s defense team filed a motion for a mistrial. The prosecution did not resist the motion. The trial will be rescheduled. ~The Scranton Journal

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