Jury convicts man in 23 minutes

Published 12:18 am Thursday, March 21, 2013

It took a jury 23 minutes Tuesday to convict a local man of burglary and theft.

Warren Francis McDonald III was arrested Jan. 10, 2011, after he and a co-defendant, Gigi Hope Cooper, were caught “scrapping” for metal at a vacant U.S. Hwy. 84 home.

McDonald took the stand in his own defense, stating he’d been given permission by someone named “Mitch;” however, he was unable to provide law enforcement with a last name. Property owners testified earlier that neither McDonald nor Cooper had been given permission to be at the property.

McDonald insisted that he was acting on a mistaken belief that he had permission to take the property, even produced his own cell phone and offered to call “Mitch” on the spot, during the trial.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said it only took the jury 23 minutes to see through “McDonald’s web of deceit.”

“Theft and burglary are serious to me, and clearly, this jury took it seriously, too,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the property is brand new or as old as the hills. You don’t steal someone else’s stuff.”

Sentencing is set for May 14.

Cooper, McDonald’s co-defendant, previously pleaded guilty to Burglary III.