A former salesman at a San Luis Obispo jewelry store was found not guilty of two felony counts of receiving stolen property today, but a jury found him guilty of delaying a police officer in his duties, a misdemeanor.
William McBurney, 57, was acquitted of the most serious allegations against him by a jury of six men and six women this afternoon.
Deputy District Attorney Karen Gray alleged that McBurney knew he was buying stolen property when he purchased a stolen diamond ring worth more than $20,000 for $204 and a stolen sapphire worth $3,500 for $132.
But defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu argued that McBurney did not know the rings were stolen.
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And a K-Jon's jeweler was suspicious when the same thief who sold McBurney the diamond ring tried to sell it to her, but she never reported him to police, Funke-Bilu noted in his closing argument.
Jury member Kyle Chubbuck, a 19-year-old from Paso Robles, told The Tribune that the jury felt the case wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
"There was no smoking gun that told us he knew for sure the jewelry was stolen," Chubbuck said.
McBurney thanked the jury at the conclusion of the verdict hearing.
He faces up to a year in County Jail for the guilty verdict on delaying the officer's investigation. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14 in Judge Michael Duffy's courtroom.