Verdict reached in trial of former Navy SEAL

Verdict reached in trial of former Navy SEAL
Heben and his attorney Jim Burdon are ready to move on. (Source: WOIO)
Heben and his attorney Jim Burdon are ready to move on. (Source: WOIO)

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - The jury has found former Navy SEAL Christopher Heben not guilty on charges of falsification and obstruction of official business.

Prosecutors believed Heben was lying to Bath Police about being shot by three gunmen. Heben claimed he was shot in the stomach by three black men in the parking lot of the Mustard Seed Market in Bath Township back in March 2013. He never called 911, but drove himself to the hospital to get help.

"Chris Heben should never have been charged. He should never have been put through this personal turmoil. He shouldn't have been put through this expense, this embarrassment," said Heben's attorney, Jim Burdon.

Investigators felt his story did not add up. Police and prosecutors believe Heben was shot somewhere else because they didn't find bullet casings, anything on surveillance video and even two officers who happened to be at that center saw nothing.

Prosecutor: "You were trained to observe details?"

Heben: "Yes, sir."

Prosecutor: "You didn't see the police cars?"

Heben: I did not see the police cars."

Prosecutor: "Why didn't you call 911?"

Heben: "It wasn't my first response. I wanted to see if I could get a license plate."

Heben faced jail time and possible fines, but early Wednesday evening, jurors returned in less than an hour with not guilty verdicts on both charges.

"Maybe it was the attention. Maybe it was the fame. But there's definitely motive," said prosecutor Craig Morgan.

Heben's attorney says the recently engaged former Navy SEAL just wants to put this ordeal behind him.

"Now he wants to begin leading his own life," said Burdon.

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