Rams DE won't be considered repeat offender

Updated: April 1, 2005, 9:39 PM ET
Associated Press

CLAYTON, Mo. - St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little was found not guilty of drunken driving Friday by a St. Louis County Circuit jury.

Jurors ruled that Little was speeding at the time of his arrest April 24 on Interstate 64 in a St. Louis suburb. He will be sentenced on that charge May 6.

"We're absolutely thrilled," said Little's lawyer, Scott Rosenblum. "Couldn't be happier."

Leonard Little

Little will not be considered a persistent offender, which had been a possibility under the charges because he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a 1998 drunken-driving accident in downtown St. Louis that killed 47-year-old Susan Gutweiler.

Little served three months in jail, completed 1,000 hours of community service and four years of probation for the earlier crime. He was also suspended without pay for the first half of the 1999 season.

The prosecution argued in this case that Little failed several field sobriety tests when stopped for speeding and refused to be chemically tested for alcohol when taken into custody.

Rosenblum countered that his client should be cleared, arguing in part that the officer at the scene failed to give Little the proper instructions.

Rosenblum said during the trial that Little had consumed two beers and was not intoxicated when stopped by police, who reportedly found Little driving 78 mph in a 55-mph zone.

Little had 46 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks and recovered four fumbles last season. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2003.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press