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Larry Bethea Gets Suspended Sentence for Stealing Mother's $64,000 Savings

January 24, 1987|Associated Press

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Former Dallas Cowboy Larry Bethea received a four-year suspended prison sentence Friday for stealing his mother's $64,000 life savings.

Circuit Judge J. Warren Stephens also ordered Bethea, 30, to serve two years on probation and repay the money he pleaded guilty to stealing from an attic safe in the Newport News home he shares with his mother, Alice Bethea.

"I feel grateful to the Commonwealth that it understood some of my total background and situation, and that I'm not a person to cause problems," Bethea said after the sentencing hearing.

"I got a little confused in the big picture, and I hurt my family," Bethea said. "I didn't mean to hurt them, but a lot of things . . . you feel like you need to do, sometimes you have to do, even if you know it's going to result in negative consequences."

Dallas police took $61,375 in cash from Bethea when they arrested him Aug. 4. The money is being held in Texas, but his estranged wife has claimed the cash is Bethea's and is seeking part of it as a divorce settlement.

Police found the cash on Bethea when they arrested him in response to a call from his wife, Gloria Bethea. They found her at a downtown Dallas hotel, bruised and with a bloody lip. Bethea was arrested nearby.

An assault charge lodged by Dallas police was later reduced to a municipal offense, but Bethea's mother had by then discovered that a safe in her attic had been broken into and about $64,000 cash was missing.

The fate of the money should be decided by a Texas jury on March 9, attorney W. Alan Maust said.

Bethea, who was the Cowboys' No. 1 draft pick in 1978 out of Michigan State, has been out of football for about a year.

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