Allen McMillen listens during his trial on a theft charge on Monday. He was acquitted by a jury on Tuesday in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT - A Van Wert man accused of stealing a pick up truck was acquitted in a two-day jury trial.
It took less than an hour of deliberations for the jury to find Allen McMillen, 28, not guilty of fourth-degree felony theft. The prosecution had asserted that McMillen had taken a black pickup truck belonging to Spoor Excavating during the early morning hours of Sept. 20, 2011.In his closing argument, McMillen's attorney, Scott Gordon, reminded the jury that McMillen had an alibi during the evening of Sept. 19 and the early morning of Sept. 20. McMillen testified that he was home all night at the house on St. Rd. 116 in which he was staying. The owner of that house confirmed that with her testimony.
Assistant County Prosecutor Martin Burchfield noted to the jury in his closing argument that the home owner was remembering a Monday night from 63 weeks earlier, casting doubt upon that woman's testimony.
The state's case claimed that McMillen had wondered onto Spoor's property on Sibley St. and had taken a set of keys from the truck parked there. They claim was that on the night of the 19th, McMillen and his cousin walked back to that property and took the pickup, but had to stop at the trailer court on John Brown Rd. because they could not get the headlights to work. Eventually they drove the truck to Convoy where it was taken to a garage on Tully St. to be repainted.
A tip led Van Wert Police and the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office to obtain a search warrant and search the garage where the stolen vehicle was found on Dec. 15, 2011.
Gordon claimed that his client was framed by the accomplice in the case. The jury of seven men and five women found reasonable doubt in the accomplice's story and voted to acquit.