Former Batesville Prosecutor Found Guilty in Federal Corruption Trial

MARCH 9, 2004 - Posted at 2:34 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal jury today found former prosecutor T.J. Hively of Batesville guilty on one count of racketeering and four counts of mail fraud.

A co-defendant and Hively's former law partner, Butch Ketz, was found guilty of one count of racketeering and two counts of mail fraud in the six-week old trial.

But the jury couldn't reach a verdict against a third defendant, bail bondsman Gary Edwards, and the judge declared a mistrial on those charges and additional ones that jurors couldn't decide against Hively and Ketz.

The three men were accused of pressuring criminal defendants to turn over property and money in exchange for leniency.  Federal prosecutors say Hively turned his office into a criminal enterprise.

Hively would not comment as he left the courtroom.

Ketz' attorney said he was very surprised at the verdict.  He said he didn't think the government had proven its case against his client.

Edwards' lawyer said he was pleased that the jury considered their defense and obviously weren't convinced by the government's case.

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