Short found guilty

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2006

Vidalia &8212; It was 10:20 p.m. before a Concordia Parish jury returned a guilty verdict in the Jason Short murder trial Wednesday.

The jury deliberated for only an hour after the three-day trial.

Short will return Aug. 16 for his official sentencing.

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Louisiana District Attorney Brad Burget presented Short&8217;s jury much the same evidence as he showed the jury in the Joseph Loncar trial several weeks ago. Loncar was also found guilty by a jury in less than an hour and received a life sentence without parole or probation for the charge of second-degree murder.

Both men were arrested last April in connection with the death of Richard Allan Cupstid.

Burget called approximately 20 witnesses to testify in Short&8217;s case and labeled Bobby Beard as the key witness.

&8220;Circumstances and evidence points to the fact that Mr. Short killed Mr. Cupstid,&8221; Burget told the jury in closing statements. &8220;This comes down to the facts and the facts point to Mr. Short is lying.&8221;

Short was found guilty on the charges of allegedly robbing, shooting and running over Cupstid. Cupstid died a day later in a Jackson Hospital.

Witnesses included friends, family members and local authorities.

Short&8217;s father and Cupstid&8217;s father were both escorted out of the courtroom during the trial because of emotional outbursts in response to witness accounts. They were allowed to return shortly before the guilty verdict was read. Short&8217;s ex-girlfriend was also charged with contempt of court for not following judges pleas to speak up and gather herself.

Beard&8217;s testimony revealed he had been with the two men that day and participated in smoking crack cocaine and drinking liquor, among other things.

Beard said he chose not to go with the men on the trip early that morning because he wanted no part in the overheard discussions on robbing someone for drugs.

&8220;I didn&8217;t want to go with them because I didn&8217;t want anything to do with what they were talking about doing,&8221; Beard told the court.

A murder weapon has not been recovered. The bullet that killed Cupstid was a .22 caliber bullet, experts have said.