Capital Judicial Center

Hatch jury deadlocks on most counts

Found not guilty on two charges
Posted:  Monday, November 20, 2017 - 11:30am

After nearly a full day of deliberations, a jury Monday came back deadlocked on 20 of the 22 counts of the Kenneth Hatch indictment. Only on counts 13 and 14 did the jury reach a verdict, each a verdict of “not guilty.”

“I believe that further deliberation would not lead to any breaking of the deadlock,” said the foreman. Each juror was polled and each said no further deliberations would be useful.

After consulting with the lawyers, Justice William Stokes polled the jury on the counts it decided. The jury found Hatch “not guilty” on one count of sexual abuse of a minor, which was count 13, and “not guilty” on count 14, aggravating furnishing of a scheduled drug.

Stokes declared a mistrial in counts 1-12 and 15-22.

It was not yet known if the state will retry him on those charges; the next step is a status conference on Dec. 20. Bail conditions were modified so Hatch can get his hunting rifle and shotgun back in time for hunting season, and he will no longer have to ask the state for permission for supervised visits with his nieces and nephews, Risler said. There still have to be other adults present.

Defense attorney Richard Elliott said he was extremely pleased with the jury. “They paid attention to all the details about the case. We were very happy with the not guilty verdicts on counts 13 and 14, and of course, Ken would have liked for all the charges to have come back as not guilty, but this is a good start.”

Hatch did not want to speak to the media, his attorney said.  His wife also declined comment.

Elliott described himself as disappointed about how the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office responded. “The county has been a disappointment,” he said. “We would have hoped that they would have reached out to Ken on this.”

The jury declared itself deadlocked around 11:15 a.m. Nov. 20. Stokes polled jurors and accepted their verdicts on the two counts they were able to reach unanimous verdicts on.

Assistant A.G. John Risler said he did not know why the jury reached a verdict on the two counts it did. “It wasn’t the Jan. 22 date, and it wasn’t the event in Somerville, where some of the dates were confused,” he said. “It was one of the incidents that occurred within the age range of 14-15.”

Risler said he would be evaluating the case with the head of the criminal division and would meet with the victims before deciding whether or not to retry Hatch on the 20 counts on which the jury deadlocked. He said that in the meantime, Hatch will have to continue most of the bail conditions set – no alcohol or illegal drugs, and no contact with anyone under the age of 16 except for a few specific family members in supervised settings.

“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t secure a verdict,” he said. “But I am proud of all the young ladies who came forward to tell their stories. We want people to come forward in cases like this.”