No new trial for Lancaster inmate convicted of 2011 robbery and extortion plot

LANCASTER — An inmate serving a 23- to 46-year prison term for a 2011 extortion-robbery plot will not get a new trial after a state appeals court ruling, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

Chapel Thompson, 32, was convicted in 2013 of robbery, kidnapping and other related charges regarding the extortion of a Lancaster barbershop owner.

Thompson’s co-defendant, Aaron Robinson, is serving a 36- to 72-year prison term.

Thompson recently requested a new trial, arguing that his trial jury was unfairly prejudiced by the presentation of two guns as exhibits, and that his attorney did not allow him to testify.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently denied the request, finding both arguments to be without merit. The high court determined the two guns (which were found at Thompson’s home) were appropriate as exhibits.

The high court also found Thompson’s trial attorney acted appropriately in advising Thompson not to testify because that would reveal “credibility” issues. Thompson admitted at a prior hearing that he took the attorney’s advice, knowing he had a right to testify.