Wednesday, April 02, 2008

TOP STORY > > Trial for Cox put on hold

Leader senior staff writer

To try bail bondsman Bobby Junior Cox for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, participating in an ongoing criminal enterprise and lesser crimes would constitute double jeopardy, Special Judge John Cole of Sheridan ruled Monday.

Special Prosecutor Larry Jegley received a copy of the ruling Tuesday and said he’d confer with Attorney General Dustin McDaniel before deciding whether to appeal Cole’s decision to the state Supreme Court.

“It’s my intention, subject to the attorney general’s input, to make an appeal,” Jegley said.

Cox’s attorney, John Wesley Hall, filed a two-inch thick motion and brief maintaining that a trial of Cox now, after he was dismissed from the Campbell public corruption case, would be double jeopardy.

Also undecided is whether the trial of alleged co-conspirator Larry Norwood, also a bail bondsman, would proceed or whether the Norwood case should be put on hold until the Cox double-jeopardy question is settled.

Cox and Norwood were originally charged as codefendants in the sprawling drug, theft, conspiracy and criminal enterprise trial of former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and his wife, Kelly Harrison Campbell.

He is serving a 40-year sentence, and she’s serving a 10-year sentence.

The cases against Cox and Norwood have lingered while the transcripts were being made Cole declared a mistrial in Cox’s case last year because a witness suddenly testified that Cox had solicited him to kill Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain and a star witness.

“A lot of things are up in the air,” said Jegley.

He said he should know how he’ll proceed with Norwood in the next several days.