Joseph Thomas Speaks At His Sentencing Hearing
Thomas tries to tell jury about his polygraph test but evidence was ruled inadmissible
Joseph Thomas -- the man convicted of the murder, rape and kidnapping of Mentor woman Annie McSween -- spoke on his own behalf during his sentencing hearing Thursday morning.
Thomas talked briefly, less than a minute. Additionally, he did not do it under oath so prosecutors did not have a chance to cross examine him.
Thomas told the jurors that he had passed a polygraph test and another man had not. Yet the other man wasn't on trial, he said.
Assistant Lake County Prosecutor Charles Cichocki objected because the polygraph evidence had already been ruled inadmissible Wednesday by Lake County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard Collins Jr.
Collins upheld the objection.
"The reliability of polygraph evidence has not sufficiently been established and, therefore, such evidence is not admissible in this case," Collins told the jury.
After talking about the polygraph test, Thomas added, "The rest of it -- that's for you all to decide I don't have to to say no more."
Thomas has been convicted of the rape, murder, kidnapping and aggravated robbery of McSween. He continues to insist that he is innocent.
The jury can choose a punishment between 25 years to life, other lengthier prison sentences or the death penalty.
To that end, Lake County Assistant Prosecutors Charles Cichocki and Pat Condon have presented aggravating evidence to justify the death sentence to the jurors.
Meanwhile, Thomas' attorneys -- David Doughten and Lake County Assistant Public Defender Charles Grieshammer -- offered mitigating evidence to justify giving a prison sentence.
Doughten and Grieshammer emphasized Thomas' difficult childhood.
Several family members and associates testified that Thomas was abandoned by his father, ignored by his drug-addicted mother and abused by a series of surrogate father figures.
The jury will begin deliberating on what Thomas' sentence should be today.
McSween, 49, was tending bar at Mario's Lakeway Lounge in Mentor-on-the-Lake on Nov. 26, 2010 and closed the bar by herself.
Thomas, who was at the bar that night, was arrested and charged with her death after authorities found McSween's burnt clothes in a barrel behind the Mentor-on-the-Lake home where he lived at the time of the murder.
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(An editor's note: I apologize that the volume is so low in this video. I turned it up as high as possible.)