Ex-JSO officer convicted of murder wants new trial

Published On: Aug 09 2012 02:24:29 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 08 2012 07:32:31 AM EDT

The latest appeal by an officer convicted of robbery and murder.


A former Jacksonville police officer convicted of robbing and killing a businessman in 1998 has filed a motion for a new trial.

Karl Waldon was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Sami Safar.

Waldon, three other ex-officers and two other defendants were all indicted in what has been called the worst case of corruption in Jacksonville Sheriff's Office history.

They started off shaking down drug suspects, but progressed to robbery and murder in the Safar case.

Safar left a bank after making a large withdrawal. That bank was where ex-officer Auric Sinclair, one of the conspirators, was working private security.

Safar was pulled over by Waldon, robbed, handcuffed and stuffed in the back of a police cruiser, where he suffocated.

All but Waldon pleaded guilty. Waldon was tried and convicted.

He has filed prior motions seeking to vacate his conviction and sentence, but all of them have failed.

This time, he argues that there was fraud upon the court through the fabrication of evidence. He also argues that the federal government does not have the authority to prosecute conspiracy to commit murder or false imprisonment because he was not acting in the course and scope of his duties as a police officer.
"I had a birds eye view of the evidence and what was going on and I knew all about what happened and evidence I was privy to," criminal defense attorney Mitch Stone said. "I don't think he is going to prevail in this, I think the evidence against him is pretty strong."

The fraud he says was perpetrated upon the federal court appears to have been the government's allegation that the court had jurisdiction to prosecute what is essentially a state-court matter. He says the murder did not occur on federal property.

His theory would require the court to conclude that Waldon was not acting under his authority as a police officer when he participated in the kidnapping, shaking down and murdering of Safar.

Channel 4 Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson says this latest appeal isn't entirely surprising, since most criminals have nothing but time behind bars.

"He has a lot of time on his hands to think of all the ways he can try to come up with time to appeal. It's just a part of the judicial process that allows him the opportunity to make an appeal," Jefferson said.

The government has until Aug. 23 to file a response.


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