Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Ex-Prosecutor Gets Probation for Helping Cover Up Police Detective's Beating of Handcuffed Man

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Ex-Prosecutor Gets Probation for Helping Cover Up Police Detective's Beating of Handcuffed Man

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * A disgraced former St. Louis prosecutor was sentenced Thursday to 18 months on probation and 140 hours of community service for helping cover up a city police detective's beating of a handcuffed man.

Bliss Barber Worrell pleaded guilty in October to misprision of a felony, or helping conceal a crime. She admitted failing to tell supervisors and a judge what she knew about the attack, and also admitted helping file a bogus charge against the victim.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors recommended probation if she testified truthfully in court. On Tuesday, she testified against the former officer, Thomas A. Carroll, in a two-day hearing. He was sentenced Wednesday to 52 months in federal prison.

Worrell said she was repeatedly told by Carroll that he had beaten Michael Waller and stuck a gun in his mouth, possibly chipping his teeth. It happened at a police station in 2014, after other officers caught Waller with a credit card stolen from Carroll's daughter's car.

Worrell would later help file charges against Waller, including attempted escape. Those charges were dropped after other prosecutors approached supervisors with concerns that the case was bogus, according to court testimony.

On Thursday, Worrell's lawyer, Paul D'Agrosa, urged U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey to follow the recommendation for probation, saying that she cooperated with investigators early on. Her law license was suspended pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings by the Missouri Supreme Court's Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, he pointed out.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fara Gold, one of the prosecutors on the case, also recommended probation but said that she "struggled" with it and didn't want to condone Worrell's conduct.

Gold said that no one in the case including police and former prosecutors, both criminally charged and uncharged "seemed to understand the gravity of what occurred."

But, she said, by the time she met Worrell, in the fall of 2015, the accused lawyer was a "completely different" person, who told investigators what she knew about Carroll and other officers and "seemed to be visibly distressed" by her actions. …

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