Defendant acquitted in bomb plot vs. Arpaio
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 14, 2003 12:00 AM
After five weeks of testimony, a jury on Friday acquitted a 22-year-
old Phoenix man of trying to blow up Maricopa County Sheriff Joe
Arpaio with a bomb.
James Saville, who spent four years in jail, dropped his head when
the jury announced he was innocent of conspiring to commit first-
degree murder and innocent of misconduct involving weapons.
Jurors, who began deliberating Thursday, were persuaded by defense
arguments that Saville was entrapped by the Sheriff's Office as part
of a publicity stunt by Arpaio.
Ulisses Ferragut, Saville's lawyer, said after the verdict jurors
told him the entrapment was a result of "overzealousness by the
Sheriff's Office." He said the next step is a civil suit against the
"They have been holding him for four years," Ferragut said. "They
knew what they did to that boy was wrong."
Sgt. Wayne Scoville, a sheriff's deputy, was the star witness for the
defense. In earlier interviews he said Saville was the victim of an
entrapment scheme started by a prison snitch in 1999.
The informer, Saville's prison mate, told him that he would get cars
and money if he agreed to meet a mobster and build a bomb to kill
Arpaio. If he refused, the snitch said Saville's family would be in
At the time, Saville was completing an 18-month sentence for inciting
a race riot and attempting to blow up Maryvale High School.
The defense said the snitch concocted the scheme to gain favor and
get out of prison.
When Saville left prison July 8, 1999, an undercover detective helped
him make the bomb and took him to the sheriff's car in a restaurant
parking lot, where Saville was arrested in front of the media.
Sheriff's officials denied that Saville was a victim of entrapment.