Jury finds former Martin police officer not guilty in alleged theft from charity fund
WEAKLEY COUNTY, Tenn. — A jury has returned a not-guilty verdict for a former Martin police officer accused of stealing money from a charity fund set up for a girl with cancer.
Guy Pryor was accused of stealing $19,000 from an account for the “Day for Anna Kate” fundraising campaign, which was organized to help the family of Anna Kate Wenz.
The trial picked up early Thursday morning with testimony from the bank manager where the “Day for Anna Kate” account was opened by Pryor using his personal information.
The next witness and the only other person listed on that account, John Miller, also used to work at the Martin Police Department alongside Pryor and Anna Kate’s father, Mike Wenz.
“The defendant came up with the idea to have a fundraiser, and call it a ‘Day for Anna Kate,’ and asked me to help out because we were all friends,” Miller said from the stand.
Pryor then took the stand.
Pryor said he put the money in his safe at his house so the Wenz’s could access it since they were not listed on the account at the bank.
“I just wanted enough to get his hands on it if he needed it, and I realized that there were people still depositing money, so I needed to keep the account open,” Pryor said.
During the state’s cross examination, Obion County District Attorney Jim Cannon asked Pryor why there was a series of eight cash withdrawals instead of one.
“I didn’t just want to pull out a bunch of money at one time and I didn’t want to have, you know, one, I didn’t want to have the suspicious transaction report, but I also didn’t want to just be carrying around a large amount of cash,” Pryor said.
Anna Kate’s father was the last to testify.
The state asked if he ever knew about the money in the safe. Wenz said no.
The jury deliberated for a little more than an hour before they reached a verdict.
The 2-year-old passed away last year after nearly a yearlong battle with cancer.
Pryor’s attorney, Mark Donahoe, argued none of the money was stolen but was returned to the account.