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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2006
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Readers disagree with refuge verdict

Most respondents to an online poll said they disagreed with a federal court jury's acquittal of a man charged with sexual contact without consent at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Anthony Gentry, 59, of Huntsville was among 28 defendants indicted after a four-day sting operation conducted by federal and state officers. The jury found him not guilty Monday.

In the three-day unscientific poll, which ended Friday, 255 readers of decaturdaily.com said they disagreed with the verdict.

They represented 59.6 percent of the 428 people voting. A total of 173 said they agreed with the verdict.

Anita Vaughan of Toney found Gentry's defense credible.

"I'm female and definitely not gay," she wrote by e-mail, "but I do enjoy going out to the boardwalk to walk. Once you get far enough in that the road noise from (Interstate) 565 dies down, it is a peaceful place to watch the black-coated squirrels, the many varieties of birds and occasionally the waterfowl. ...

"Can't anyone just believe Mr. Gentry was there to walk Lulu Belle (his dog)? Where else could he walk her along 565 that would be as quiet?"

- Steve Stewart

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