The 'Killer' Escapes

October 19, 1984

It was hardly a flattering portrait but good news nonetheless for entertainer Jerry Lee Lewis, who beat a federal charge of income tax evasion.

Jerry Lee Lewis was an ignorant and negligent “good ole boy” who did not pay his income taxes, but prosecutors failed to prove that the singer intentionally hid his assets from the Internal Revenue Service, jurors said yesterday.

When reporter Otis Sanford asked jury foreman Alma Henderson about the government’s failed case, he got an earful:

My personal feeling is that he’s guilty as hell but we couldn’t go by that. We had to go by the evidence.

After the trial, Sanford said jurors were yukking it up with the "Killer" and asking for autographs.

Looking back: "The one thing I will never forget is that after my story with that lede was published in the newspaper, Jerry Lee sent me a greeting card that said thanks for the nice coverage," Sanford said.