The vandalism outraged Chinese officials. Though Rohana didn't deny he snapped off the digit and took it home, a jury deadlocked Tuesday on charges of theft and concealment of an object of cultural heritage, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Rohana's lawyers argued he wasn't charged under the right law.
"These charges were made for art thieves — think like 'Ocean's Eleven' or 'Mission: Impossible,'" federal public defender Catherine C. Henry said in closing arguments. Rohana "wasn't in ninja clothing sneaking around the museum. He was a drunk kid in a bright green ugly Christmas sweater."
Rohana, a shoe salesman who lives with his parents, told jurors it was a dumb mistake. "I don't know why I broke it," he testified. "It didn't just happen, but there was never a thought of, 'I should break this.'" He added: "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."
A mistrial was declared. Federal prosecutors said they'll decide by May whether to retry the case. The thumb was returned to China. Franklin Institute officials told the jury it has not been reattached.