Tim Watford trial update: Watford convicted of deprivation of rights under color of law

ariquelmy@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 1, 2011 

OPELIKA, Ala, – Jurors took just less than four hours this evening to convict a former Russell County deputy of deprivation of rights under color of law.

Tim Watford, 43, cried as he heard he'd been convicted in connection with the Nov. 26 beating of Patrick C. Harrington as Harrington was handcuffed outside of a Lee County business.

At least one juror cried after the verdict was announced. Jurors then filed from the courtroom and left the building.

"I noticed the jury crying," said defense attorney L. Joel Collins. "I thought they were very emotional in what they did, but they did their job."

Jurors deliberated for three hours and 45 minutes. Earlier in the day, they heard testimony from Kirby Dollar, another former deputy who's already pleaded guilty in connection with the beating. Testifying for the defense, he called Watford a friend who he loves like a brother.

Watford wiped tears from his eyes as Dollar testified about beating Patrick Harrington outside a Lee County garage Nov. 26. Watford faces a charge of deprivation of rights under color of law in the federal case. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. Dollar already has pleaded guilty to the charge.

As part of his plea agreement, Dollar said he'd testify for the government. However, prosecutors rested their case today without calling Dollar. Defense attorney L. Joel Collins then called Dollar as his first witness.

“I saw (Watford) slap a few times, from what I could see,” Dollar said.

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