Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mark Becker


  After 25 hours of deliberations over 5 days, the jury sent out a note announcing they had reached a verdict at 9:35 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. It was the longest jury deliberation Butler County, Judge Carroll or any of the attorneys involved had ever seen.

At 10:50 a.m., Judge Carroll announced the verdict: guilty of first degree murder. Mark Becker stood seemingly emotionless as his fate was pronounced. Widow Jan Thomas sobbed quietly as Becker's mother, father and brother held hands.

Todd Thomas
Todd Thomas

Both families spoke out after the decision. The Thomases professed satisfaction, but no great happiness, with the verdict. "There are no winners in this case," said Ed Thomas' younger son Todd. "No verdict it going to replace Dad, but we do take comfort in knowing he's in a better place," added brother Aaron. The Thomases made sure to thank everyone involved with the trial and asked for prayers for both their family and the Beckers.

Joan Becker spoke emotionally of her family's deep sadness. She thanked the jury for their hard work and painful decision, but heaped some scorn on the State's mental health system. In an artful turn of phase, she maintained, "Ed Thomas was the victim of a victim... The system failed miserably... Our son Mark would never have taken the life of another person in his sane mind."

After the statement and before Becker was taken out of the courthouse in shackles and a bulletproof vest, the Butler County Sheriff allowed the Becker family a private visit with Mark in a nearby conference room. For Joan Becker, it was the first time she was able to hug her son in 8 months. She said Mark had no memory of the crime but was horrified by the accounts of that day.

Jurors chose not to hold a post-verdict press conference, but talked to local newspaper reporters in the days after the trial. The initial jury vote was split 7-5 in favor of murder. According to foreman Doug Schueler, the jury "bounced back and forth" throughout the deliberations until reaching a final decision.


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