Delaware Man Who Damaged $4.5 Million Terracotta Warrior Gets Off For Being a ‘Drunk Kid’

A jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of Michael Rohana, a Delaware man who snapped off the thumb of a Terracotta warrior statue in Dec. 2017

The jury, which consisted of a panel of seven men and five women, was on a deadlock with regards to whether or not the prosecutors charged Rohana under the right law during the trial on Tuesday, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

They reportedly spent 11 hours debating the fate of the 25-year-old man, but were not able to reach a verdict on charges that include theft and concealment of an object of cultural heritage  valued at $4.5 million, according to SCMP.

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His lawyer, federal public defender Catherine C. Henry, argued that he was not charged under the right law during the trial.

These charges were made for art thieves — think like ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ or ‘Mission: Impossible,'” Henry said, adding that the man “wasn’t in ninja clothing sneaking around the museum. He was a drunk kid in a bright green ugly Christmas sweater.”

image Shanghaiist via Medium

Rohana, who works as a shoe salesman at a department store in Delaware and lives with his parents, admitted that what he did was a stupid mistake when he testified on Thursday.

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I don’t know why I broke it,” he said. “It didn’t just happen, but there was never a thought of, ‘I should break this.’”

Every time I see this video now, I’m trying to figure out, ‘What was going through your mind? What were you thinking?’ I don’t know how I could have been so stupid,” he added.

Assistant U.S. Attorney K.T. Newton, meanwhile, did not accept Rohana’s excuse in his testimony.

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Michael Rohana deliberately broke the thumb,” the attorney said. “He took it out of the Franklin Institute and he took it home. That is theft. That is stealing.”

A mistrial was later declared, but federal prosecutors said they will decide around May if they will retry the case or not, Associated Press reported.

The thumb has been returned to China, but Franklin Institute officials told the jury that the removed finger has not been attached.

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[We] are grateful for the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in investigating and prosecuting this case,” the institute said in its statement.

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