Defense attorneys rested their case Friday in the theft trial of a former College of Southern Nevada associate vice president.
The surprise move came after William Gilbert’s defense team had called only one witness. Attorneys Brent Bryson and John Momot were indicating for weeks that they planned on calling dozens of witnesses during the trial.
“Given the testimony which was garnered yesterday (Thursday), the defense rests,” Bryson announced as the three-week trial was to continue Friday afternoon.
On Thursday, the defense’s only witness, former college President Ron Remington, testified that he gave Gilbert permission to store and use college construction equipment and material for college related projects at Gilbert’s home.
Gilbert is on trial for 11 felony counts of theft. Authorities have alleged that Gilbert and three co-defendants took construction-grade material and equipment from the college so that Gilbert could build his house near Mount Charleston and that the co-defendants worked on the house when they should have been working on campus.
His defense team says Gilbert was using the material and equipment for college-related projects.
An off-the-record bench conference with the prosecution and District Judge Donald Mosley followed Bryson’s announcement. The jury was then dismissed for the day and ordered back Monday to hear closing arguments.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Conrad Hafen rested the prosecution’s case Thursday after calling more than 15 witnesses, including two state investigators who testified they found college-owned equipment and materials, including pallets of cinder block, at Gilbert’s property.
Remington said he gave Gilbert permission to do some construction work, including welding, at his lower Kyle Canyon residence because the college did not have the space or facilities for the work on campus.
During cross-examination, Remington said Gilbert did not have permission to use college material and equipment for personal use. Remington also admitted he was not fully aware of what college projects Gilbert worked on at his home.
Bryson said there was no need to call more witnesses after Remington’s testimony.
“We determined there had not been one witness by the (prosecution) that testified that Mr. Gilbert violated community college policy or that Mr. Gilbert had wrongfully taken anything or stolen anything,” Bryson said.
“Not one witness by the state said material or equipment from the college was being used by Gilbert for a non-college purpose.”
Calls to Hafen asking for comment were not immediately returned.
Days prior to the trial, the three co-defendants in the case, Thad Skinner, Matthew Goins and George Casal, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit theft, a gross misdemeanor, and were sentenced to one year of probation.