Former federal Judge Odell Horton dies at 77

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Former U-S District Court Judge Odell Horton has died in Memphis at age 77.

Horton was the first black federal judge and assistant U-S attorney in Tennessee since Reconstruction.

He died of respiratory failure yesterday at a Memphis retirement home.

A Bolivar native, Horton became a U-S District Judge after being nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

He served as chief judge of the district until 1997. Horton presided over the controversial 1990 bank fraud trial of then-Congressman Harold Ford Senior, declaring a mistrial and citing evidence of jury tampering.

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