BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County jury found Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo not guilty on embezzlement charges Friday. The three term mayor was accused of stealing $1,100 dollars by using the city gas card to fuel his personal vehicle. The jury deliberated for about three hours.
The defense centered on Longo's public service in a job that never stops. "Instead of getting a pat on the back, he's getting kicked in the shins for $1,100," said defense attorney Don Rafferty. Rafferty also argued that Longo drove his personal vehicle for city business because its power seats and running boards made it more comfortable for the mayor enter and exit. Longo has had knee and hip surgeries that his attorney said left him with disabilities.
The prosecution discounted that argument and centered its case on accountability of a public official. "Accountability. It's about holding this public official accountable for what he did," Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker said in his closing argument. "You don't have to show where every ounce of that gas went, because he converted it into personal use the second he put it into his vehicle," Parker told the jury.
WLOX reporter Elizabeth Vowell is monitoring deliberations and will have the latest on WLOX News and wlox.com.