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JURY RUMINATES, THEN DECIDES TO ACQUIT AN ACCUSED SPITTER

It took less than 10 minutes for a jury to acquit a fast-food restaurant employee whom an Albuquerque police officer accused of spitting into his sandwiches.

The six-person jury ruled unanimously this week in favor of David Bobst, 20, who was charged with a misdemeanor criminal charge of "conduct offensive to the public well-being" after the alleged incident on Oct. 1, 1995.Albuquerque policeman Ed Bylotas said he had seen Bobst spit into two sandwiches the officer ordered at an Arby's Roast Beef restaurant. Bylotas arrested Bobst once the sandwiches were handed over.

Bylotas also filed a civil lawsuit against Bobst and MJG Corp., the Arby's local franchise. The officer wants unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress.

The lawsuit says Bylotas ordered the sandwiches and watched Bobst prepare them, then spit into them. An attorney for the officer said while Bylotas never ate the sandwiches, he has been "traumatized" and won't eat out anymore.

Tim White, a lawyer representing Bobst, says he will move for dismissal of the civil lawsuit in view of Bobst's acquittal on the criminal charge.

Bobst was suspended after the incident, but a spokesman for MJG Corp., said Bobst will be offered his job back once the lawsuit is resolved.

"We didn't believe it happened in the first place," said MJG training director Jim Gilmore.