A Whiting man who was convicted of dismantling and stealing a historic Hammond bridge for scrap metal has asked for a new trial.
On Thursday, Kenneth Morrison's attorney filed a court document asking the federal judge to acquit their client and order a new trial.
In December, Morrison was found guilty in U.S. District Court on an interstate theft charge alleging he and a crew of workers cut up a disused bridge built in 1910 for a succession of railroad lines, just north of downtown Hammond, and sold it to Illinois scrapyards for more than $14,000. Morrison, owner of T&K Metals in Whiting, pleaded not guilty.
The court document alleges that the government did not meet its burden of proof that Morrison illegally obtained materials from the bridge, citing that ownership of the bridge was not clear.
“The government failed to prove that either Hammond or CSX Railroad or any other entity was the owner of the bridge during or reasonably close to the two-month period of the crime stated in the indictment,” the court document states.
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Morrison's attorney said the prosecutors painted Morrison as a deceitful person by overemphasizing the defendant's failure to obtain permits coupled with his dishonest statements about procuring the permits, ultimately swaying the jury to a guilty verdict.
The Monon Bridge, which was built in 1910, has been owned by several railroad companies throughout its history, including CSX, court records show. CSX deeded real property, including the bridge, to the city on March 3, 1987, records show.