Russellville man acquitted in rape trial
A Russellville man was acquitted of first-degree rape after three hours of deliberation Thursday afternoon.
Marvin Ardon, 25, of 1437 Harrison Ave. in Russellville, was found not guilty of forcibly raping a 16-year-old girl.
Defense Attorney John Benn said Ardon had not had sexual contact with the alleged victim and the claim stems from a crush the alleged victim had on the defendant that was not reciprocated.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said these types of cases are always unpredictable.
"These cases are very emotional for the victim and their family," Rushing said.
The jury first came back as a hung jury but Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey asked them to go back into deliberations to attempt to reach a verdict.
Just over an hour later, the not guilty verdict was rendered.
Phone calls to Benn Friday were left unreturned.
In unrelated cases, the district attorney's office settled two other cases this week avoiding a trial.
Rushing said Florence Greger, 51, of Tuscumbia, agreed to plead guilty to first degree theft for stealing quilts, blankets, and jewelry from a home.
Rushing said Greger is due back in court later this month to plea in front of Dempsey.
Also, Jodey Wayne Waldrop, 30, of Red Bay, was back in circuit court this week for his escape charge.
"While Mr. Waldrop was in custody before his trial, he tried to escape," Rushing said. "This charge stems from that escape."
Rushing said his office was prepared to go to trial and a jury had already been struck when Waldrop decided to plea. The plea agreement stipulates that Waldrop will serve 10 years in prison.
Waldrop is currently on death row for the 2005 killing of his infant son, but Rushing said the escape charge was still important.
"It's a charge we didn't want to dismiss because of appeal purposes," Rushing said. "And because when you escape it should be dealt with as any other crime."
Waldrop was sentenced to die last year, but is in the midst of the appeal process.