Prosecutors Key on Northrop Case in Trial of Former Region 8 Prosecutor

February 18, 2004 - Posted at 7:36 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Federal prosecutors say a former local prosecutor and bail bondsman lined their pockets by letting an accused rapist avoid prison.

Former prosecutor T.J. Hively of Batesville faces federal racketeering and extortion charges in Little Rock, where the government is in the third week of trying to prove that Hively ran his office as a criminal enterprise.  Bail bondsman Gary Edwards and Hively's former law partner Wesley "Butch" Ketz are also charged.

Accused rapist John Milton Northrop took the stand yesterday, saying he struck a deal to avoid jail time by signing over about $100,000 in property to the bail bondsman.

Hively said he dismissed charges against Northrop because he could not find the victim's family.  But a local sheriff's deputy said family members had left their new address with him and he could have located them if Hively had ever asked.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)