I have thoughts. I have many thoughts. But right now I just want to post the news article from the Bloomington Herald-Times.
Jurors convict Griffin of murder in stabbing death of IU professor
April 14, 2011, last update: 4/15 @ 12:30 am
Michael James Griffin
After 12 hours of deliberations, jurors late Thursday night found Michael Griffin guilty of murder, deciding he intended to kill Don Belton when he stabbed him 22 times in December 2009.
The 27-year-old former Marine faces a prison sentence of 45 to 65 years.
The seven women and five men on the jury spent 12 hours, until 11:15 p.m., working to reach a unanimous decision.
Two satellite trucks from Indianapolis-based television news stations sat parked outside the Justice Building late into the night, the reporters hoping for a verdict before the 11 p.m. newscast.
Griffin is a Bloomington High School South graduate who was awarded the Purple Heart after being injured in the Iraq war. Belton was an acquaintance and an assistant English professor at Indiana University.
A friend found 53-year-old Belton’s body on the kitchen floor of his South Madison Street house on Dec. 28, 2009.
Griffin admitted to jurors he killed Belton by stabbing him 22 times with a knife that has a 10-inch-long, double-edged blade. He claimed Belton raped him, and that when he confronted Belton, the man denied there had been an assault and said he believed the sex acts between the two were consensual.
The two argued and Griffin went into a rage, killing Belton days before the professor was to depart on a vacation to Hawaii.
Jurors had the option of finding Griffin guilty of murder — an intentional killing — or the less-serious offense of voluntary manslaughter, killing someone in the sudden heat of emotion.
The range of penalty for voluntary manslaughter is 20 to 50 years behind bars.
Griffin likely will serve half of his sentence under an Indiana statute that gives prisoners two days of credit for each one served on good behavior.
From closing arguments
Earlier in the day, the defense and prosecuting attorneys presented closing arguments to jurors.
Public defender David Collins said his client snapped when Belton was flippant about Griffin’s allegation that Belton sexually assaulted him on Christmas Day 2009.
“He went to Don Belton’s to get some understanding of what happened Christmas night,” Collins told the jury. “He was met with a smirk … he wanted to hear it was not OK. Twenty-two times … does that evoke thoughts of passion, anger, rage?”
Deputy prosecutor Darcie Winkle said Griffin had 32 hours to decide what to do about the events on Christmas. She told jurors he went to Belton’s house to kill him, then carried out the plan.
“He killed Don because he was humiliated about what happened the 25th,” Winkle said. “Actions speak louder than words. It’s crystal clear what the defendant’s intent was.”
- on homophobia, classism, and the politics of rape: Don Belton and Bloomington’s Pride Film Festival
- Breaking: Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton “cannot subscribe to the views of those online critics who insist that I ‘just don’t get it’ “
- Michael Jackson, pop icon, dead at 50
- seven things I know about Michael Jackson
- Sakai 09 Opening Remarks: Michael Korcuska