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Missing Bait Money Leads to Dropping of Charges

April 11, 1985

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ A bank robbery charge against a man was dropped after prosecutors discovered that $100 in marked money taken in the holdup was missing from the courthouse and the police department evidence room.

″All we had was the bait money that was stolen,″ Assistant District Attorney Patricia Bennett said Wednesday. ″It’s kind of touchy that it’d turn up missing.″

George Williams, 42, of Flora, was to have gone on trial in Hinds Circuit Court on Tuesday on a charge of robbing $9,085 from a bank in January 1984.

″All I can say is, he has to be the luckiest guy in the world,″ Ms. Bennett said. ″I’m pretty sure it’s just misplaced someplace and will show up.″

In 1984, Williams was acquitted in federal court of another Jackson bank robbery charge.

He won’t go free. Williams still has to serve a 15-year sentence at the Mississippi State Penitentiary for a Yazoo County bank robbery, Ms. Bennett said.

Prosecutors couldn’t prove that Williams was one of the two gunmen who entered the The Mississippi Bank branch last year because both wore masks. But they alleged he had some of the marked bills taken in the robbery.

But when they tried to find the money in the Jackson police department’s evidence room and the Hinds County Courthouse, it wasn’t there, Ms. Bennett said.

The money was used as evidence in an October trial in which Rosie Bratton, a Jackson nursing student, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for being the getaway car driver, the prosecutor said.

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