Former officer accused of rape found not guilty

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The former Memphis police officer on trial for allegedly raping a woman more than a decade ago was found not guilty by a jury Thursday.

Bridges Randle failed to show up for court on the same day attorneys delivered final arguments in his case.

His attorney, Leslie Ballin, won't say where Randle was or even if he knew where Randle was. He did say Randle could be charged with failure to appear regardless of the not guilty verdict.

The judge told the jury they could not "infer anything" from Randle's absence, and instructed attorneys to continue their closing arguments without him.

Randle is accused of raping a woman who called police 18 years ago after her car was vandalized. She says officers showed up to her apartment and left, but Randle came back and raped her at gunpoint.

Stacy McEndree was a prosecutor on this case.

"So, he went back and rather than protecting her, as he had promised to do, he violated her," McEndree said in her closing argument.

Prior to trial, the case sat cold for more than a decade because it was one of thousands of backlogged rape kits Memphis police hadn't tested. WREG uncovered the backlog in 2009, and once the rape kit in question was tested, the DNA evidence was linked to Randle.

Randle denies the rape charge, but refused to testify in trial. Ballin says the sex was consensual, and claims there are inconsistencies between what the victim told police and what she said in court.

"If you're decision is such that at the end of the this case you're going to think about it again, you're not morally certain," Ballin told the jury today.

If Randle is charged with failure to appear, he could face a fine and/or jail time.