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Not Guilty Verdicts and Hung Jury In Trial of Former Leon Deputy

By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email
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UPDATED By Julie Montanaro
August 16, 2013 7pm

A former LCSO sergeant - accused of stealing thousands from an elderly man - is found not guilty on all but two of the charges against him. There was a hung jury on the rest.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before reaching a verdict in the theft and fraud trial of former LCSO sergeant David Graham.

Ours were the only cameras rolling as the judge read the verdict.

"The jury has been unable to determine counts two and three," Judge James Hankinson said, "As to counts one, four, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 the jury has found Mr. Graham not guilty."

It found Graham not guilty of stealing or pawning coins, not guilty of lifting more than 50-grand from the elderly man's safe and undecided on the two remaining theft charges.

"Obviously it's a resounding victory," defense attorney Nate Prince said afterward. "The judge dismissed five of the counts and the jury came back not guilty on 13, so not convicted of anything, acquitted of most of the charges. It's a good verdict that comported with the law."

Graham's wife fought back tears and wrapped him in a hug as soon as it was over.

The victim's grandchildren left the courtroom without comment.

"If they found we hadn't met the burden of proof then that's on me," prosecutor Will Hall said, "but there are still the other two counts. We'll just have to decide how that's going to go. Certainly I feel bad for the family and the respect of these others."

The jury was hung on two charges, charges that Graham stole Archie White's rifle and a $9,000 roll of cash from his home.

Graham confessed to taking those in a videotaped statement he gave to fellow deputies before his arrest, but his attorneys argued Graham did that when forced to make a choice between admitting it and facing punishment in-house or denying it and facing criminal charges.

Now prosecutors must decide whether Graham will stand trial on those charges again.

During the trial Graham contended he was targeted for arrest after criticizing Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell on a web site.

Here's what the sheriff had to say about today's verdict: "The evidence was presented and the points of law applied. The people have decided the case based on the evidence presented and we are moving forward."


By: Julie Montanaro
August 16, 2013, 2:40 p.m.

Ten minutes after the judge asked jurors to keep trying to reach a verdict in the theft and fraud case of former LCSO SGT David Graham, jurors returned to the courtroom.

The jury was hung on theft charges involving $9,000 and a rifle.

They found Graham not guilty on all other charges.


By: Julie Montanaro
August 16, 2013, 2:10 p.m.

The jury reached a verdict on all but two of the charges. It sent a note to the judge saying it could not agree on the others.

The charges still up in the air involve the theft of the elderly man's rifle and $9000.

The judge brought jurors back into the courtroom and asked them to continue deliberations on those two counts and if they could not agree he would declare a mistrial.


By: Julie Montanaro
August 16, 2013, 1:55 p.m.

The jury has reached a verdict in the theft and fraud trial of David Graham.

It deliberated for about an hour and 45 minutes.

We are waiting for the verdict to be announced in court.


By: Julie Montanaro
August 16, 2013, 12:05 p.m.

The jury is now deliberating in the theft and fraud trial of former LCSO sergeant David Graham.


Updated by Julie Montanaro
August 16, 2013, 12:00 p.m.

Prosecutors told the jury that David Graham repeatedly targeted Archie White and his daughter because he thought he wouldn't get caught.

"It's difficult to imagine and accept what really happened here," prosecutor Will Hall said. David Graham did not need a key to Mr. White's house or a combination to his safe, Hall said, "He had something more powerful. A badge."

Defense attorney Nate Prince said prosecutors are trying to paint David Graham as a "David Copperfield" who makes money disappear.

Prince told the jury that White and his daughter do not have any idea where their money and valuables are - whether they are in the safe, the safety deposit box or the daughters home. He questioned why deputies never searched the daughters home to try to account for any of the missing items and money.

Prince said neither White or his daughter can say what coins they owned so there is no way to prove any coins were stolen. He says the state never introduced an inventory of the coins in the safety deposit box and can't say whether the items in question are there now.

As for the $9,000 Graham admitted to taking, Prince claims he took it with Mr. Whites permission for safe keeping. He says the elderly man asked about it and Graham brought it back.

There was no intent, Prince said. If it's his intent to steal from Mr. White, who prosecutors described as the perfect victim, "that money would never come back," Prince said.


Updated by Julie Montanaro
August 16, 2013, 9:30 a.m.

The defense called a clinical psychologist to the stand this morning in the theft and fraud case of former LCSO sergeant David Graham.

Dr. Jerry Burghout observed victim Archie White during his deposition and reviewed transcripts of reports he previously filed with the Tallahassee Police Department.

Burghout testified that White has onset senility and suffers from confusion, paranoia and short term memory loss.

The defense rested its case and attorneys are about to begin closing arguments.

The judge also reduced one of the felony grand theft firearm charges to a misdemeanor theft charge instead.


Updated by Julie Montanaro
August 15, 2013

Former LCSO SGT David Graham spent nearly two hours on the witness stand.

Graham says the man asked him to hold the money so he could pay his property taxes and asked Graham to clean the rifle.

Graham says he inventoried the man's safety deposit box to help safeguard items inside. He denies taking anything.

He says he put thousands of dollars into the man's safe and locked it. He denies having the combination and denies taking any of the money.


By Julie Montanaro
August 15, 2013

The state has rested its case against David Graham.

Graham's attorney argued for an acquittal. The judge threw out two of the charges against Graham, saying there wasn't enough evidence to proceed with theft charges involving a bracelet and some pawned coins.

He ruled the jury will decide the rest.

Graham is expected to testify late this afternoon.


By Julie Montanaro
August 15, 2013

Prosecutors played a videotaped confession in court today in the grand theft and fraud trial of former LCSO SGT David Graham.

The questioning goes on for more than an hour.

Fellow deputies questioned Graham in regards to money and a rifle missing from the home of 91 year old Archie White.

On the tape, Graham admits to taking $9,000 and a rifle from White's home. He says he realized it was a poor decision after he left the house.

Deputies questioned Graham about visits he made to the bank and why he put more than $50,000 of White's money in White's safe, instead of having White do it himself.


By Julie Montanaro
August 14, 2013

Leon County, FL - A former Leon County deputy is now on trial - accused of stealing thousands of dollars in cash and valuables from a 91 year old man.

The state claims he took advantage of the badge on his chest to do it.
Graham says he was targeted for speaking out against the sheriff.

Archie White is 93 now. Prosecutors contend former LCSO Sergeant David Graham stole cash, jewelry, coins and more from him after earning his trust during a burglary investigation.

"I just tucked it in between the mattress and frame on the bed I sleep on and I thought it would be safe there, but .." White said on the stand Wednesday.

David Graham is now on trial for theft and fraud. He was a decorated 20 year veteran of the Leon County Sheriff's Office when he was arrested and fired in February 2012.

Prosecutors claim Graham stole cash hidden throughout the elderly man's house and helped himself to items in a safe deposit box.

"He pocketed coins and jewelry and sold them at pawn shops and kept the money," prosecutor Will Hall said.

Yet defense attorneys contend Graham befriended the elderly man and tried to help him safeguard his money. He says White routinely reported burglaries and missing money and Graham was unfairly accused.

"There's cash floating around all over the place, all the time and they all lose it," defense attorney Nate Prince said.

Graham's attorney accused Sheriff Larry Campbell of pressing charges within weeks of discovering Graham had posted accusations of unethical behavior by the sheriff and other high ranking staff - on line.

"Based on the way you see the detectives and investigators stretching to throw charges on Mr. Graham, that he did not commit these offenses. His only crime was daring to speak out against corrput public officials," Prince told the jury.

Testimony in the trial will continue tomorrow.


UPDATED 11.7.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A former deputy accused of stealing money from a 91 year old man will stand trial early next year.

Former Leon County Sheriff's Office Sergeant David Graham was in court this morning.

His trial is now set for February 25, 2013.


UPDATED 4.9.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Court records show that David Graham turned himself in this weekend to face charges of insurance fraud and grand theft.

Court records show he was booked into the jail Saturday (April 7th) and released about 30 minutes later on more than $20,000 bond.


UPDATED 4.5.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A former Leon County deputy will be arrested again. It will be the third time in as many months.

David Graham is facing new charges of insurance fraud.

Graham is accused of filing a $20,000 insurance claim for a stolen tractor and more. Police found the tractor parked in his backyard.

Graham was arrested in February and again in March. He was accused of swindling money and valuables from a 91 year old man.

The new arrest warrants were issued by Tallahassee Police today.

Find the attached probable cause in PDF format above.


Tallahassee, FL -- April 5, 2012

The Tallahassee Police Department has confirmed with Eyewitness News that they have additional arrest warrants for former Leon County Sheriff Deputy David Graham.

We are awaiting more information.

Find the attached probable cause in PDF format above.


LCSO Deputy Arrested on Additional Theft Related Charges
LCSO Press Release

Tallahassee, FL -- March 30, 2012

On September 2, 2011, Bonita Moran filed a report with LCSO in reference to the theft of money from her residence. Moran reported that the money belonged to her father, Archie White. Graham, who
was employed by LCSO at the time, met White through this investigation. On September 13, 2011, White requested his case be closed, thus ending the need for any future contact between White, Moran and Graham.

On February 19, 2012, David Graham, 45, was arrested for Grand Theft of a Firearm and Grand Theft after it was confirmed that he had stolen an antique firearm and $9,000.00 from White. After his arrest,
Graham was terminated from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Since that time, the investigation has continued into Graham’s activities and interactions with White as well as Moran. On March 29, 2012,
additional warrants were obtained for Graham’s arrest. A warrant was also obtained for the arrest of Graham’s wife, Vickie Luggi-Graham, 53.

LCSO has confirmed that in addition to the firearm and $9,000.00 cash, at least $53,000.00 cash and several thousand dollars worth of gold and silver coins and jewelry were stolen from Moran and White.
In one incident, Graham drove White to his bank and advised him to withdraw $63,000.00 cash (all in $100 bills). White added $7,000.00 to this money, making the total $70,000.00. Graham assisted
White in splitting this money into two bank bags and then hiding it in a safe. White then spent the weekend with his daughter and returned home to find only $17,000.00 remaining in the safe. After this
point in time, Graham made several large purchases and paid with $100 dollar bills. He also deposited at least $8,000.00 into his own personal bank account. These deposits were also exclusively in $100
denominations.

Graham also repeatedly drove Moran to her bank in order to inventory the contents of her safety deposit box. In each case, either the same day as the bank visits or the following day, Graham would
sell coins or jewelry to local second hand dealers. Detectives have also confirmed that on March 1, 2012, Vickie Luggi-Graham received payment from a second hand dealer for the consignment sale of
an antique bracelet that belonged to Moran. (Moran also had an appraisal for this bracelet.) Moran was able to provide a very detailed ledger containing specific descriptions of the coins and jewelry
which has been confirmed sold at the local second hand dealers.

Detectives also learned that Graham may have been involved in insurance fraud. On March 23, 2012, members of LCSO served a search warrant at Graham’s residence. During the service of this search warrant, detectives located a tractor and a four wheeler that Graham had previously reported stolen. Both the tractor and the four wheeler were purchased by Graham, reported stolen, paid for by the
insurance company and then recovered in his yard.

On March 29, 2012, Graham’s attorney was contacted and informed of the additional warrants. On March 30, 2012, Graham and Luggi-Graham turned themselves in at the Leon County Jail.

ARRESTED:

David Graham

45 years old
Charges: Grand Theft (7 counts), Dealing in Stolen Property (7 counts), Defrauding a Pawn Broker (4 counts), Insurance Fraud and Making a False Report of a Crime

Vickie Luggi-Graham

53 years old
Charge: Dealing in Stolen Property


LCSO Deputy Arrested for Stealing from 91-Year-Old Man

UPDATED 2.21.2012 by Julie Montanaro

FDLE is now reviewing financial records in the case of a deputy arrested for stealing money from a 91 year old man.

The Leon County Sheriff says the investigation of SGT David Graham continues and he estimates there may be as much as $50-60,000 missing.

Do you anticipate that David Graham will be facing more criminal charges?

"I'll have to wait to see what the investigation culminates with, but I'd say it's a fair chance," Sheriff Larry Campbell said in an interview Tuesday.

The sheriff claims Graham installed county-owned surveillance cameras in the man's house, accompanied the 91 year old to the bank and even advised him where to hide his money.

The sheriff says LCSO detectives then installed their own hidden cameras in that house and tried, but failed to catch Graham in the act.

"I gave him (the victim) a sum of money and we were going to get the man to tell him (Graham) 'I've got some more money and I'm gonna hide it. I want you to help me hide it," Campbell said.

Graham was the head of LCSO's financial crimes unit. He supervised an initial investigation into money that disappeared from the man's home.

We requested a copy of that initial complaint. It was filed by his daughter September 2nd. Most of the report has been blacked out, but the last supplemental report was filed by SGT Graham just three days before his arrest.

Graham has not responded to our request for a comment and there is not an attorney of record listed for him in the court's computer.

We also reached out to the 91 year old victim in this case, but have not heard back from him either.


Tallahassee, Florida - Feb. 21, 2012 - by Deneige Broom

"It's a bad situation. We have to arrest the bad guys all the time," said Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell during Monday's media conference.

Campbell had to arrest and fire one of his own.

David Graham was a 20 year veteran with the Leon County Sheriff's Office before he was fired Monday.

The former sergeant was arrested Sunday for two counts of grand theft.

The victim was 91-year-old Archie White.

"We think this was a crime of opportunity," said Campbell when asked if he believed there were other victims.

Campbell says Graham was part of the financial crimes unit that was investigating a crime against White in September of 2011.

The LCSO case was eventually closed but Campbell says Graham continued his relationship with the victim, acting like the investigation was still open.

Campbell says Graham took White to the bank on occasions and set up surveillance cameras in White's home, which is standard procedure in some of their investigations.

"Shocked and saddened," was all Campbell said when asked how he felt about the situation.

On February 15, White reported $9,000 dollars in cash were missing from his home.

White said Graham was the man who took the bank bag full of $100 bills from between the mattresses.

On February 19, Graham was brought in for questioning. It was there Campbell says Graham confessed to the crime.

"We've recovered $9,000 and an antique rifle but we do think we could find as much as $50,000-$60,000," said Campbell.

Graham was arrested Sunday and was suspended.

Campbell fired Graham from LCSO on Monday.

Graham was released from the Leon County jail just before 11 Monday morning on $10,000 bond.

David Graham worked for the sheriff's office since 1991. He's made headlines before for bringing Gary Michael Hilton from Georgia to face murder charges in the death of Cheryl Dunlap. He was also one of seven people to receive a medal of valor in 2010 for their work in a shootout.

The sheriff's office says the only other disciplinary problems Graham has had in his tenure happened on February 13.

He was suspended for 40 hours without pay because of a standard of conduct investigation within the department. LCSO says no other information can be released about that incident because they haven't closed the investigation.


Tallahassee, Florida - Feb. 20, 2012 -2:30

During this afternoon's press conference, Sheriff Larry Campbell said that Sergeant Graham was fired from the Leon County Sheriff's Office this morning. Graham was working with the Financial Crimes Unit when the alleged criminal act occurred. Campbell says the victim is a 91-year-old man whom Graham worked with during an investigation. Campbell says Graham befriended the man and acted like he was part of an active investigation after LCSO had already closed the case. During that time, Campbell says at least $9,000 were stolen, but he believes as much as $50,000 to $60,000 may be recovered.


UPDATED 11am by Julie Montanaro

LCSO is planning a 2pm press conference to discuss the arrest of SGT. David Graham.

Arrest papers say Graham is accused of stealing $9,000 in cash and an antique rifle from a home on Noble Drive.

Arrest papers say the homeowner told deputies the money was in a blue bank bag and tucked beneath the mattress in his master bedroom. It was all in one hundred dollar bills. Arrest papers say the homeowner suspected Graham in the theft, but at this time LCSO is not commenting on whether the men knew each other or how.

Arrest papers say Graham was called in to the sheriff’s office Sunday night and admitted to the allegations.

LCSO is not commenting on the arrest or Graham’s history with the department until its afternoon press conference.


Sheriff Larry Campbell will hold a media conference today at 2:00 p.m. in the Citizen’s Academy room at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. During the conference, Sheriff Campbell will provide a brief overview of a continuing criminal investigation.

Media partners are asked to arrive no later than 1:45 p.m. in order to allow time for set up.

WHAT: Media Conference

WHEN: Monday, February 20, 2012
At 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Leon County Sheriff’s Office
Citizen’s Academy Room


Tallahassee, Florida - Feb. 20, 2012

A Leon County Sheriff deputy has been arrested for Grand Theft and Grand Theft of a Firearm. Court records show Sergeant David Graham was arrested just before midnight Sunday, and spent the night in jail. Court records show Graham made his first appearance before a judge this morning and his bond is now set at $10,000.

Graham is perhaps best known for transporting accused killer Gary Michael Hilton from Georgia to Tallahassee to face charges in the murder of Crawfordville Sunday school teacher Cheryl Dunlap. Graham was also one of seven law enforcement officers to receive a Medal of Valor in 2010 for their handling of a Memorial Day shootout.


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