Jury convicts two in Benton vote fraud cases

ASHLAND – A Benton County jury returned a guilty verdict Monday in the first two voter fraud cases to be tried by jury in connection with the widespread arrests made in 2007 during the countywide elections. Clint Moffitt of Hickory Flat, who was running for election to the position of Benton County Sheriff, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud. Ada Tucker of Ashland was also found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud. The charges involved vote buying. Moffitt and Tucker were each found not guilty of one count of vote fraud. The final day of the seven day trial was moved to Holly Springs due to ongoing jury selection in Benton County. According to Benton County Circuit Clerk Kathy Graves, the jury went out around 11:15 a.m. and returned a guilty verdict around 3:15 p.m. Circuit Judge Andrew Kincannon Howorth advised Moffitt and Tucker to get their house in order as there would be incarceration time involved, according to Graves. Sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 14. The maximum sentence for conspiracy is a $5,000 fine and/or 5 years in the penitentiary plus court costs. The remaining three cases scheduled for the June term, James Bullock charged with one count of bribery and one count to commit voter fraud, Jasper Buggs Sr. charged with one count of voter fraud and 2 counts of bribery and First District Supervisor Tate King charged with two counts of voter fraud and one count of bribery have been continued until the October term of Circuit Court. Other cases still pending court action are: David Massey, Tip Massey, Lillie Jean Norton, Maurice Warren, Kenny Ray Bowen, Billy E. Street-conspiracy to commit voter fraud. Cooper Epps-two counts of bribery, three counts of voter fraud, Arnold Rooker Sr.-one count of bribery and one count of voter fraud, Jerry Huck Childers-one count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud, one count of bribery and one count of voter fraud and Superintendent Ronnie Wilkerson-one count of voter fraud. The cases are being prosecuted by the Public Integrity Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s office.

Southern Sentinel