2007-09-20 / Front Page

Deliberation ends with one acquittal

Jury hung on other count
By Cheryl Holladay

After two days of deliberation in 34th Circuit Court, Roscommon, a jury remained undecided about whether a Michigan State Police trooper from the Houghton Lake post was guilty of larceny by false pretenses. However, the jury did find him innocent on a charge of filing a false police report.

Having received the case against Tpr. Neil Holton mid-day Sept. 12, the jury returned Friday afternoon with its split decision.

The Attorney General's Office authorized the charges against Holton following an investigation by Denton Township Police and State Police into a claim Holton filed about credit card charges he said he did not make.

Assistant Attorney General Laura Moody prosecuted the case. Attorney General's Office spokesperson Matt Frendewey said the office has not yet determined if it will retry Holton on the larceny by false pretenses charge. He said the charge of filing of a false police report cannot be retried, citing double jeopardy (putting someone on trial more than once for the same crime, which is forbidden by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).

Lt. Patrick Boyd, commander of the Houghton Lake post, would not comment on the case, referring the Resorter to Det. 1st Lt. Amos Horton of Seventh District Headquarters, Traverse City.

Horton also would not comment on the outcome of the trial. He said he is uncertain if Holton will remain on unpaid leave, adding he is waiting to learn what the State Police Human Resources and Labor Relations Departments have to say. Holton had been suspended without pay, according to State Police Inspector Russ Smith.

Denton Township Police Chief Dallas McGeary, who forwarded the case to the State Police last March after his preliminary investigation, had no comment for the Resorter Friday following the verdict.

The Resorter attempted to contact Neil Holton and was referred to his attorney, Michael Hackett of Mt. Pleasant. Hackett could not be reached for comment.

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