Man guilty in hit placed on chief
July 06, 2012 · Jake Krob
A former Mount Vernon man has been convicted on federal charges for a plot to murder Mount Vernon police chief Mark Winder.
Lorenzo Harris-Thompson, 30, faced charges related to a plan to kill Winder, in an attempt to prevent Winder's testimony at a federal sentencing hearing related to a September 2010 arrest in Mount Vernon. Following a three-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids, a jury on Thursday, June 28, convicted Harris-Thompson on the following (one count each):
• Attempted obstruction of justice.
• Attempted murder of a person to prevent him from testifying in federal court.
• Using a telephone to conduct a murder for hire.
The verdict followed about eight hours of jury deliberations, according to the United States Attorney's Office.
Harris-Thompson has been held in a jail cell in Iowa County. He remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. For the charges handed down by the jury last week, he faces up to 60 years of imprisonment, a $750,000 fine, $300 in special assessments and 11 years of supervised release if he's let out of prison. He already faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessment and three years of supervised released following imprisonment for a firearms offense that set off the murder-for-hire allegations.
The case dates back to Sept. 8, 2010, when the Mount Vernon Police Department, with the help of officers from Marion, raided a home on Third Avenue N.W. and arrested seven people, including Harris-Thompson. He was charged with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a firearm as a felon, child endangerment, and having a disorderly house.
Harris-Thompson pled guilty to the firearms offense and was scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 22, 2011.
As reported by the Sun in January, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported in court documents that shortly before the 2011 sentencing date, Harris-Thompson, from jail, had another person find out the name of Mount Vernon's police chief. According to the court documents, Harris-Thompson then had that person make a payment to an undercover officer who was portraying himself as a contract killer.