Guilty verdicts in
MARQUETTE – On 11 of the 12 counts in the torture trial of Jason David Sadowski and Charles Leroy Cope, the jury foreman had only one word: guilty.
The verdict was returned at about 9 p.m Tuesday following eight hours of deliberation.
Sadowski, 44, and Cope, 66, were each charged with two counts of torture and two counts of unlawful imprisonment. Sadowski was also charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct, solicitation of murder and assault with intent to do bodily harm less than murder.
Sadowski was found guilty on every charge, except the criminal sexual conduct charge.
Cope was found guilty on all four charges against him.
Both men could face up to life in prison. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
“We’re very satisfied with the verdict,” Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Wiese said just after the verdict was read Tuesday night. “It was evident that the jury paid close attention to the case and worked hard during deliberations and carefully went through all of the crimes alleged and we’re very happy that there is justice for the victims in this case.”
Sadowski’s defense attorney Timothy Quinnell also spoke on behalf of his client.
“We’re disappointed in the results but we respect the decision of the jury,” Quinnell said.
Karl Numinen, defense counsel for Cope, declined to comment.
The courtroom was half-filled with supporters of the two Ishpeming women held captive July 2 in Sadowski’s home and business, The Martial Way, as well as supporters of the defendants. Most of the spectators had attended each day of the seven-day trial.
Family members of the victims sat in the first two rows behind Wiese, holding hands.
Before the jury was brought inside, Judge Jennifer Mazzuchi warned spectators to control their emotions.
“I recognize that this has been a lengthy and emotional proceeding on both sides, or all sides I should say,” Mazzuchi said. “I recognize that people in the courtroom may have opinions about the verdict that the jury reaches. This jury has worked very hard to do their duty to the court and when the verdict is read in open court there is to be absolutely no physical response or verbal response to this jury’s verdict. If you have an opinion about it you can express it some other time, but the jury deserves our respect and I will not tolerate that behavior.”
Mazzuchi said anyone who felt they could not comply with the instruction should sit in the hall.
Though there were no emotional outbursts from anyone gathered in the courtroom, tears were shed by many as the jury read its verdict.
After the verdict was read, Quinnell asked for the jury of seven women and five men to be polled. All 12 confirmed the verdict.
The jury deliberated for roughly eight hours Tuesday, asking to further examine photographs and some testimony from the trial.
Because of the late hour, Mazzuchi did not set a sentencing date for either defendant.
The charges stem from a July 2 incident in which two Ishpeming women were duct taped to posts in the basement of Sadowski’s home and business, The Martial Way, beaten, tortured and threatened with death for hours after confessing to Sadowski they had stolen money from him. One woman was asked by Sadowski to kill the other woman and both were choked by Sadowski.
Wiese had also alleged during the trial that Sadowski had forced one woman to search inside the body of the other woman for money they had admitted to stealing from him. However, there was conflicting testimony from the two victims – one woman said the incident did happen and the other said it did not.
Quinnell had argued throughout the trial that Sadowski was innocent on all the charges.
Numinen had asserted a defense of duress, saying Cope only did what he was told to do by Sadowski out of fear for his own safety and the safety of the two women, one of whom has since died of an accidental prescription medication overdose, according to a death certificate on file at the Marquette County Clerk’s Office.
It is The Mining Journal’s practice not to identify victims or alleged victims of criminal sexual conduct.