A 3rd District jury deliberated for less than two hours Tuesday before finding a Hill Air Force Base worker guilty of murder.
The six-woman, two-man jury found Keith Mincy, 21, guilty of stabbing and killing Lorenzo Thompson, 20, of Ogden, during a fight in front of the Salt Palace on Sept. 23. He will be sentenced for the second-degree murder charge on Jan. 11 before Judge James Sawaya.Defense attorney Hans Scheffler admitted that Mincy stabbed Thompson, but said he did so only in self-defense. He described the victim as a drunken, 265-pound man who was sitting on top of Mincy and beating his head into the pavement.
"Put yourself on that street. Are you going to defend yourself?" he asked the jury. "If someone pushes us, if someone hits us . . . we can take action. We can use force to defend ourselves."
He said, "I don't have to be beaten to a bloody pulp before I can defend myself."
But deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Robert Stott said the self-defense theory was Scheffler's and not Mincy's. He reminded the jury that when Mincy took the stand, he said he didn't stab Thompson.
"Mr. Mincy never says, `I stabbed him.' He says, `I didn't stab him,' but the defense wants you to come back with self-defense."
Although Stott said Thompson was definitely a bigger man and may have even started the brawl that day at 115 S. West Temple, he said Mincy was the only one who had a weapon. He said witnesses who testified in the trial said Thompson was stabbed after he walked away from the fight.
"That's everybody's testimony except the defendant," Stott said. "Mr. Mincy gets up and follows him across two lanes of road," he said. "When he was four or five feet away, he slashed out at Mr. Thompson . . . folds the knife up, puts it in his pocket and walks away."
The prosecutor also reminded the jury of testimony from police detectives who testified they found blood near the sidewalk in front of Club DV8. "The only blood marks found were over near the curb near the cars, not out in the road where the defense would have you believe the stabbing took place."
Stott said Mincy gave four different statements about what occurred that night. First, he told police he was never in the area of the fight. "Is that the testimony of a man who was acting in self-defense? No. That's the behavior of a person who murdered somebody."
He said the second time Mincy gave a statement to police, he never mentioned a knife. The third time he said the knife rolled out of his pocket, both tried to grab it, he opened it with one hand and then stabbed Thompson.
"And then he gives a fourth testimony on the stand. Talk about credibility. Four different stories!" Stott said.
Witnesses said Thompson and two other Weber State College students were in Salt Lake City to go dancing. They stopped near 115 S. West Temple to speak with some friends and an argument ensued when Thompson's car rolled back and nearly hit Mincy's vehicle parked behind them.