Stanford Found Innocent, Prosecutors 'Amazed'
Prosecutors^Amazed' ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) — The jury that acquitted Alan G. Stanford Jr. in the machete- slaying of former New Yorker showgirl Athalia Ponsell Lindsley couldn't have had time to even inspect the evidence in such brief deliberation, a prosecutor said Tuesday. It was exactly two and one- half hours from the time the jury retired to consider its verdict until the acquittal at 8:33 p.m. Monday. During that time, the eight men and four women jurors elected a foreman, ate a meal brought in to them and considered a verdict. "It would amaze me if anybody could go through that evidence in two and one-half hours," said Asst. State Atty. Richard' Watson. "But -I'm a firm believer in the jury system and it would be improper for me to comment on the verdict." Watson said the case is closed, as far as he is concerned. St. Johns County Sheriff Dudley Garrett also marked the case closed. "If I'd pursue it any farther, I'd be pursuing an innocent person, "he said. ' "Yes, I think he did it," Garrett replied to a question about Stanford. "I signed the complaint against him, and I don't concur with the verdict. "You always see somethings different you could have done, but if I'd been on the juryi I think I could have filled it in from the evidence and testimony." Defense attorney Edward Booth charged in closing argu ments that investigators "were, hell-bent on getting Mr. Stanford" to the point of neglecting to check out the victim's husband of five months — former mayor James Lmdsley — and a county-employed mechanic, Dewey Lee. Lee testified of finding some bloodied clothing and a machete which the state said were linked to Stanford. Alan Stanford... Found Innocent Honor Roll Student Among honor roll students for the past six weeks at Bay High School was Gregory Lawrence Mings, a senior. He was listed in Tuesday's News-Herald as Lewis Mings. Booth said Lee was a friend of the chief investigator in the case, Lt. Eddie Lightsey, and asked why Lightsey hadn't testified to corroborate Lee's story- . "Eddie Lightsey is the phantom of the case," Booth told the jury. A near-eye witness of the Jan. 23, 1974, killing on the front steps of Mrs. Lindsley's home was Locke McCormick, 20. He lives the other side of Mrs. Lindsley's home from the Stan- fords, dates Stanford's, pretty daughter.'Patricia, 19, and his parents are friendly with the Stanfords. Locke McCormick testified he looked but the window of his home about 6:10 p.m. the day of the slaying and saw a man, raising and lowering his arms as if striking blows. He said he ran out and saw a man walking away from the nearly decapitated body of Mrs. Lindsley. The witness admitted he ran into his house and told his grandmother "Mr. Stanford is hitting Mrs. Lindsley." But he said he later realized the man had more hair and broader shoulders than the 150-pound Stanford; Stanford said he hopes to be reinstated.in the $20,000-a-year job of county manager. He was given leave of absence a year ago when he was charged with first-degree murder. County commisioners Robert Curtan and Herbie Wiles indicated it may be taken up next week. But Commissioner Fred Green said, "there is no chance that Stanford will be rehired."