Split Verdict Returned in West Memphis Cop Case

January 24, 2003
Posted at: 4:03 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Federal jurors in Little Rock returned a split verdict Friday against two former West Memphis police officers.

Anthony Bradley was found guilty of conspiracy to violate civil rights and of theft of government property. Joseph Applegate faced one count -- the same conspiracy charge -- and was found innocent.

After the verdicts were read, Bradley looked across the defense table at Applegate. Applegate shook his lawyer's hand, and Bradley and Applegate hugged a moment later.

Afterward, Applegate said ``It feels good that the truth will set you free.'' He then became teary-eyed. The former law officers were accused of stealing money from innocent motorists, or skimming cash from legal seizures.

Applegate had also worked as a former Crittenden County sheriff's deputy.

The men were among six people indicted by a grand jury. The others will be tried later. Lawyers put on closing arguments after the defense put on no witnesses. Defense lawyers argued simply that prosecutors did not prove their case.

The trial before U.S. District Judge George Howard Junior began January 13, and went to the jury late Wednesday. The investigation began after federal law enforcement received complaints from motorists who said they were treated improperly by law officers in Crittenden County.