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Griffin Found Not Guilty Of Murder
Updated August 18, 2017 7:21 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(BLOOMINGTON) - A Monroe County jury found John Griffin not guilty on Thursday in the murder of 66-year-old Donald Gentry.

Griffin was accused of killing 66-year-old Donald Gentry, who was found beaten to death at his mobile home in the 4500 block of Old State Road 37 South the afternoon of Sept. 12, 2016. Gentry suffered so many blows to his head and face that an exact number of injuries could not be determined during an autopsy. Police say Gentry was bludgeoned with a landscaping brick and claw hammer.

The jury spent almost three hours deliberating.

Public defender Amy Payne from the beginning of the trial says Griffin is on trial for a murder he didn't commit and for killing a man he didn't even know. Payne told jurors Christina Harmon used her skills as a confidential informant to manipulate the investigation for her own person gain. She also claimed Harmon used law enforcement to set up Gentry and to negotiate a deal to get out of jail.

Harmon did not testify during the trial.

Deputy prosecutor Erika Oliphant played a recorded conversation between Harmon and Griffin recorded just after the murder for jurors. On the tape Harmon asked Griffin if he knew he killed Gentry? Griffin replied that when he left Gentry he was moaning and asking 'why?' multiple times.

In a second recorded conversation played for jurors Monroe County detectives asked Griffin if he knew Gentry. At first he denied knowing Gentry, but then told police he thought Gentry was Harmon's friend and he sold drugs.

The crime

Christina Harmon, who was arrested in March as Griffin's accomplice, faced a jury in June. She was also acquitted of Gentry's murder and a charge of robbery.

During an interview with detectives, Harmon told police she was with 63-year-old John Griffin the night of the murder.

According to court documents, Harmon told police Griffin came out of Gentry's residence with blood all over his face carrying a large brick and a bag of narcotic pills, which he threw in her lap while she sat inside Griffin's vehicle.

Harmon told police that Griffin put the brick in the floorboard of his vehicle, then reached behind the driver's seat, grabbed a bottle of "Windex" glass cleaner, and sprayed it on his face to clean the blood off. Harmon told officers Griffin then drove to a Motel 6 where he threw the brick and hammer over a fence.

After her interview, Harmon took the detectives to an area near the Motel 6 where detectives located a brick, which appeared to have blood spatter and hair attached to it. Detectives also recovered the hammer during their search.

Detectives were later able to verify there were similar type bricks located outside of Gentry's residence. Gentry's DNA was found on the hammer and on a plastic bottle of glass cleaner found in the center console of Griffin's van. They could not determine whose DNA was on the brick.

When detectives spoke with Griffin, he denied any involvement in the murder and stated that he did not know who Gentry was or where he had lived.

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