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Minn. man convicted for role in 1970 murder of officer

The Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minnesota- A jury convicted a man for his role in the ambush murder of a police officer nearly 36 years ago.

Larry Clark, 55, was sentenced to life in prison. He was found guilty on Saturday of aiding and abetting first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of police officer James Sackett, who was slain as he responded to a fake call about a woman in labor on May 22, 1970.

Prosecutors had portrayed Clark as the right-hand man of Ronald Reed, who was convicted two months earlier of first-degree murder and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors contended that Reed and Clark, who are black, wanted to kill a white police officer to impress the national leadership of the Black Panther Party.

In closing arguments Wednesday, Prosecutor Susan Hudson recalled testimony about fiery meetings where witnesses said Reed and Clark _ then 19 _ advocated striking back against the white establishment.

But Clark's attorneys insisted there wasn't enough evidence to tie him to the killing. They labeled several key prosecution witnesses as liars, motivated by hopes for a piece of a $100,000 reward or reduced sentences for other crimes.

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