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LOS ANGELES : Man Acquitted of Murder in Fatal Ambush Case

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Von Raymond Pledger, charged with murder after a man involved in the ambushing of two anti-gang police officers was killed, was acquitted Friday after four days of jury deliberations. He had spent 10 months in jail.

“He was innocent from the beginning. It was a waste of taxpayers money,” said Allena Pledger, the acquitted man’s mother. “He was in jail 10 months for something he did not do.”

Pledger, 27, and another man, suspected of ambushing two officers in South-Central Los Angeles, were charged with murder because another alleged attacker was killed when police returned fire. Pledger was visiting from Minnesota at the time of his arrest last year, his mother said.

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In the trial, Pledger’s attorney presented his client’s alibi, derailing the case.

“If you have reasonable doubt, you can’t return a guilty verdict,” said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. “The identification issue was the key issue.”

Terrance Thomas, the other man charged with murder in the incident, was killed in a gang shooting shortly after.

Pledger had been charged with murder, attempted murder, assault with a firearm on a police officer, and various other charges. He was acquitted of all charges.


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