An appellate court reversed a Will County judge’s decision to deny an evidentiary hearing into allegations of jury misconduct in a 2013 murder case.
Christopher “Little” Thompson, 37, is serving a life sentence in prison after a jury found him guilty of fatally shooting Gerardo Franchini inside Louis’ Family Restaurant on Aug. 3, 2013.
Thompson and Franchini were embroiled in an ongoing feud, authorities said. After exchanging a few words with Franchini at the restaurant, Thompson left and returned with a T-shirt pulled over his face and shot Franchini several times.
On Sept. 7, 2016, Will County judge Dan Rozak sentenced Thompson to life in prison.
Thompson appealed his conviction. On May 2, 2018, The 3rd District Appellate Court affirmed his conviction but reversed Rozak’s order denying Thompson’s motion for an evidentiary hearing on jury misconduct.
On Friday, Thompson was transferred to the Will County jail for
the proceedings of his post-trial motions.
On Feb. 23, 2016, Juror No. 4 sent a letter to Rozak that indicated an alternate juror knew from a newspaper report that Juror No. 2 had been excused from the jury, according to the appellate court’s decision.
The letter also indicated that Jurors No. 7 and No. 5 said during deliberations that Thompson had been arrested before even though his arrest record was not in evidence.
Thompson argued Juror No. 4’s letter indicated he was deprived of his constitutional right to a trial by an impartial jury and the judge denied his right to due process.
The appellate court found the juror’s letter established the jury had been exposed to “some form of improper extraneous information.”