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Jury gets case of ex-Dallas police officer on trial in Sam's Club robbery
[May 03, 2011]

Jury gets case of ex-Dallas police officer on trial in Sam's Club robbery

May 02, 2011 (The Dallas Morning News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A Dallas County jury on Tuesday will continue deliberating whether a former Dallas police officer is guilty of masterminding a 2008 robbery of a Sam's Club.

Public integrity unit prosecutors Frank Able and James Bagnall said the evidence proves Alph Coleman was a party to the robbery.

"The state has proved to you beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty of aggravated robbery," Bagnall told jurors on Monday.

But during two hours of closing arguments, defense attorneys Tom D'Amore and Bill Wirskye said prosecutors have little evidence besides the testimony of co-defendants. The law says that defendants cannot be convicted on just the testimony of others charged in the crime.

D'Amore said he takes "great issue" with the state's case.

"There is nothing else that connects him beyond a reasonable doubt," D'Amore said. "That's why the law says there has to be more." Prosecutors say the link is proved by hundreds of phone calls between Coleman and the co-defendants around the time of the robbery. They also say Coleman's explanation of the robbery, which occurred while he was working an off-duty job as a security guard at the Red Bird-area store, doesn't add up.

But D'Amore said the calls can be explained because the three men are friends.

"It connects him to the co-defendants," D'Amore said. "It doesn't connect him to the crime." D'Amore conceded that that friendship "wasn't right," but he said that doesn't mean Coleman is guilty.

The judge ordered that the jury be sequestered Monday night at a hotel.

To see more of The Dallas Morning News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2011, The Dallas Morning News Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit

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