CLEVELAND - A jury found Joshua Gaspar not guilty on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of a state trooper Thursday afternoon.
Gaspar, 37, was behind the wheel on Interstate 90 near McKinley Avenue last September when Ohio State Trooper Kenneth Velez was struck and killed.
Gaspar faced 10 charges and was found not guilty of both the homicide charges relating to Velez's death as well as driving under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash. A doctor who examined him the following day testified that Gaspar tested negative for all drugs of abuse. He had taken prescription methadone prior to the crash.
Gaspar was found guilty of four misdemeanor charges, including driving with a suspended license and tampering with records. He will remain in custody while he awaits sentencing on Sept. 8.
The prosecution argued that Gaspar made a series of decisions leading to the moment he fatally struck Velez. The prosecution also noted that Gaspar's license had been suspended in the state of Alabama, and that he lied on application documents when he obtained an Ohio driver's license.
The defense argued that the prosecution's case was a "mean-spirited" attempt to mislead the jury. It claimed that Velez's actions were dangerous as he stood outside his cruiser to catch speeding cars. It also questioned the objectionability of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's investigation, noting that Velez's own post investigated his death.
A portion of I-90 was recently renamed in Velez's honor.
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