Two Judges, Legislator Tesify on Behalf of Convicted Blytheville Man

JUNE 22, 2005 - Posted at 7:30 a.m. CDT

PINE BLUFF, AR - Two federal judges and a state legislators have testified in support of an Arkansas inmate who is trying to get his life sentence reduced.

U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson, Jr. and J. Leon Holmes told the state clemency board yesterday that 46-year-old Clay Anthony Ford of Blytheville should not have to spend his life in prison for the 1980 shooting death of a state trooper in Marion.

Both Wilson and Holmes had represented Ford.  State Representative Jeremy Hutchinson said he spoke with four jurors while on Holmes staff.  He said they told him they didn't think Ford should have been released immediately, but they didn't think he deserved to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

At a hearing in May, the parole board heard from law enforcement officers and members of Bailey's family, who opposed clemency for Ford.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)