David L. Beshey was found not guilty of second-degree burglary Wednesday by a jury that deliberated for just under 30 minutes.
The verdict came one day after his trial began.
When Judge William Ostlund announced the verdict, Beshey's friends and family cheered.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
David Beshey Listens Wednesday afternoon as Assistant Iowa Attorney General Laura Roan, at left, delivers closing arguments for the prosecution.
Beshey, 47, a former Fort Dodge police lieutenant, was accused of dragging a man out of Beshey's girlfriend's apartment after finding them naked in bed together in early January.
Beshey's attorney, Joseph McCarville, of Fort Dodge, said he was pleased with the verdict.
"I'm glad that Dave has been vindicated," McCarville said. "He was an innocent man who should never have gone through this."
Jurors in a second-degree burglary case must consider whether the prosecution has proven the following elements in order to find a defendant guilty.
1. The defendant was inside of an occupied structure.
2. The defendant did not have permission to be there, or was no longer welcome to be there.
3. The defendant stayed there with the specific intent of committing an assault.
4. One or more people were present.
Jurors who decided the Beshey case had four options: not guilty of any charge; guilty of second-degree burglary; or guilty of either of two lesser offenses: third-degree burglary or criminal trespass.
While he said he couldn't speak for his client, McCarville said he was confident Beshey was happy with the verdict.
"He has always asserted his innocence," the attorney said. "He's paid a terrible toll for this. He lost his job, and he's spent months in jail."
Beshey was a Fort Dodge police officer for 16 years, eventually being promoted to lieutenant before his arrest. His employment was terminated after the department conducted an internal investigation.
McCarville rested his case Wednesday without calling any witnesses.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Laura Roan, who prosecuted the case, said it was the jury's decision to reach the verdict.
"They reached that verdict, and we have to respect that," Roan said after the verdict was announced.
Beshey was not available for comment.
Earlier in the day, jurors heard testimony from Beshey's then-girlfriend, Diane Smith, and Special Agent Scott Reger, of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Smith testified that Beshey, who bought alcohol for her and mixed a drink for her before he went to work Jan. 14, arrived at her apartment the morning of Jan. 15 after working a night shift and discovered her in bed with Brad Bockert, a co-worker. Smith and Bockert were naked.
Roan argued that Beshey dragged Bockert out of the bed and physically threw him out of the apartment.
McCarville agreed Beshey had led Bockert out of the apartment, but countered that Bockert had not been assaulted and had left the apartment after Beshey did.
In his closing statement, McCarville said Bockert had been "manipulated by Diane Smith," and argued that Smith, a convicted felon, only reported the incident to police after she was served with a probation revocation. Smith was on probation for forgery and identity theft.
"She blamed Dave for it," McCarville said. "Doesn't that give her the motive to make up lies about what happened a month before?"
Smith admitted under cross-examination that she wondered if Beshey had something to do with her arrest.
"I wanted to know whether or not Dave had anything to do with the revocation," she said.
Smith also admitted that she apologized to Beshey and continued to see him after the incident, which McCarville said showed that she knew she had done something wrong.
"You thought Dave was hurt," McCarville told Smith under cross-examination. "You thought you hurt Dave."
While McCarville argued that Smith wasn't a credible witness, Roan said the state's two other witnesses still proved the prosecution's story was true.
"The defendant's own statements prove his guilt," she said.
Because Smith had told Beshey to leave, Roan said that meant he had no right to be there, even though Beshey apparently had been keeping clothes and other items in her apartment.
"Just because he had the occupancy intent doesn't mean he lived there," Roan said. "When he left her apartment he went home. Home was home, not there."
Reger testified that he interviewed Beshey for about four hours on the morning of Feb. 14, the day Beshey was arrested.
"(Beshey) said that he jerked (Bockert) out of bed and threw him out the door," Reger said, referencing his interview with Beshey. "He said he pulled him by his arm."
Under cross-examination, Reger said Beshey told him he and Smith had plans to meet the night of the incident.
"We had discussed I was coming over at 6:30 in the morning," Beshey was quoted as saying in the interview transcript. "I practically lived there."
When asked if Beshey intends to apply to be reinstated as a Fort Dodge police officer, McCarville said that's something they will figure out at a later time.