Judge Grisham Phillips`s decision to take the case out of the jury`s hands comes as welcome news to Bryant Fire Chief Randy Cox, but it`s a suprise for those involved with the investigation that led to the felony theft charge. From the bench, the judge explained his decision: "This has been a difficult case," he admitted. "In the days following 9-11, most citizens felt a need to do something. A lot of us felt helpless at the time. I think what the Bryant Fire Department did was a reaction to that loss." "In retrospect, it is apparent this effort might have been better organized," but Phillips added, "the court does not believe the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant possessed a criminal state of mind." Phillips blamed the situation "more to procrastination and neglect."