EVERETT — It took a jury about eight hours of deliberation to find a former Everett police officer guilty of three misdemeanors, for using police equipment to stalk his ex-girlfriend while also trying to get her new boyfriend arrested.
However, jurors acquitted Jared Corson of the most serious charge he faced in Snohomish County Superior Court: first-degree perjury, a felony.
He was found guilty Monday of stalking, official misconduct and intercepting private communication.
Corson, 37, of Kirkland, was charged last year with using a tracking device on the new boyfriend’s car, then lying about it in a sworn deposition when the woman applied for a protection order.
One juror, who asked to remain anonymous, said the group’s decision to acquit Corson on the perjury charge hinged on the wording of a statement the defendant made under oath: “I have never surveilled (the ex-girlfriend) … I do not follow her or (the new boyfriend),” the statement read. “I am no longer involved in any investigation of (the new boyfriend) as I turned it over to the proper jurisdiction.”
The trial lasted about a week. After the jury began deliberating Friday afternoon, they asked a question of the court: What is the exact definition of surveillance?
The court did not provide an answer, the juror said, adding he believed the verdict would have been different if jurors had been supplied a legal definition of the word.
“I had what I needed to believe he was guilty of perjury,” the juror said. “I didn’t agree with all the opinions of other jurors, and they didn’t agree with mine either.”
In essence, the juror said, some on the jury had trouble believing Corson committed perjury in saying he never “surveilled” his ex-girlfriend, because the jury wasn’t sure what, exactly, that verb meant in a legal context.
“The prosecutor didn’t make enough of a case to some jurors to prove that (Corson’s) wording was false,” the juror said.
Corson met the woman while on duty in Everett in 2017, according to charging papers. He was investigating an assault at a nearby deli and identified the woman, then 27, as a possible witness. She was working at a nearby bikini barista stand.
After the investigation ended, the two stayed in touch and began dating the following year. She did not know at the time that Corson was married, according to a civil complaint filed by the woman. The woman reportedly broke up with the defendant months later, in September 2018, telling him she was seeing someone else. Corson began tracking the woman’s whereabouts on her phone that month, according to the civil complaint.
Corson recorded the license plate number of her new boyfriend, according to charging papers, then looked him up using a database he had access to through his job. Corson also reportedly asked dispatchers to check the man for warrants and criminal history.
Things escalated. Corson attached a privately acquired tracking device to the bottom of the new boyfriend’s car, the charges say.
The defendant also tipped off a King County detective that the boyfriend had another vehicle’s license plate attached to his car, and it had apparently been “placed there as a legal basis to stop the vehicle,” according to the charges.
The ex-girlfriend filed for a temporary protection order against Corson on Dec. 30, 2019, in Snohomish County District Court. Corson wrote, under penalty of perjury, a response objecting to that order.
Deputy prosecutor Michael Boska wrote in charging papers that the defendant had, in fact, been “monitoring and surveilling” the new boyfriend via an unauthorized GPS tracking device.
In her closing argument last week, defense attorney Karen Halverson said Corson did not put his ex-girlfriend under surveillance, as charged, though he was “probably guilty of stalking” the new boyfriend.
Corson, who served five years with the Everett Police Department, was placed on leave in December 2020 amid an internal investigation. He resigned months later. He had no felony record.
Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss is slated to sentence him on March 1.