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UPDATE: Former Athens County Sheriff's Ammunition Purchases Questioned

By: WTAP News, The Associated Press Email
By: WTAP News, The Associated Press Email
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UPDATE 7/21/2014 10:05 AM

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - Athens County's former sheriff, who is charged in a corruption case, faces questions about his ammunition purchases.

Former Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly used his office's purchasing power last year to buy ammunition for one of his lawyers, a county commissioner and his office's fiscal officer, along with deputies.

The ammunition was bought at a discounted rate and without sales tax.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn questions whether using the favorable terms to buy ammunition ordered by civilians and off-duty deputies was appropriate.

A bill for almost $22,600 has not been paid while county officials seek to resolve questions about the purchases.

Kelly, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, says he could not answer questions about purchases because of a judge's gag order.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 7/18/2014 5:00 PM

The trial date for the former Athens County sheriff facing 25 corruption charges is pushed back.

Sheriff Pat Kelly's original trial date set for September is now set on January 26th.

The defense lawyer wants to delay because of the amount of records in the case.

Officials say moving the trial out of Athens County is unlikely and would be done only as a last resort if it was impossible to seat an impartial jury.


UPDATE 4/9/2014 12:30 PM

The interim sheriff for Athens County was officially sworn in Wednesday morning.

Rodney Smith was named to the position by the Democratic Central Committee.

He will serve in place of Sheriff Pat Kelly who was suspended by the state after his indictment on corruption charges.

Smith is a retired lieutenant.

In March of this year Smith was chosen by commissioners, but the Democratic Central Committee was required to name someone.

The charges against Kelly include theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Kelly has denied wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charges.


Updated 3/28/2014 4:25 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A panel of judges has suspended from office a southeast Ohio sheriff indicted in a corruption case.

The decision announced Friday by the Ohio Supreme Court came after Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly said he wouldn't challenge the suspension, which the three-judge panel had preliminarily recommended earlier this month.

The charges against Kelly include theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Kelly is suspected of improperly using public funds to buy meals and personal apparel, selling county property to a scrapyard and stealing wire from a county garage, among other allegations.

A retired sheriff's office lieutenant was named interim sheriff until Kelly's replacement is appointed next month.

Kelly has denied wrongdoing and vows to fight the charges at trial in September.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

UPDATE 3/27/2014 12:30 PM

The Athens County Commission picked a candidate to temporarily serve as sheriff in the event that Sheriff Pat Kelly is suspended.

The Commissioners Thursday chose Rodney Smith, a retired midnight shift lieutenant from the Athens County Sheriff's Office.

If Sheriff Pat Kelly is suspended the Democratic Central Committee will select the permanent sheriff.

The committee's next meeting is scheduled for April 7th.

Sheriff Pat Kelly is facing 25 corruption charges brought against him by the attorney general's office.

The commissioners are waiting to hear from the Supreme Court about Kelly's possible suspension.


UPDATE 3/27/2014 10:45 AM

The Athens County Commission says there are two candidates under consideration for the position of sheriff.

They are Lt. Jack Taylor, who is in charge of the detective division at the Athens County Sheriff's Office and Rodney Smith, a retired midnight shift lieutenant from the sheriff's office.

If one of them is chosen, they would only serve as sheriff temporarily.

The Democratic committee would decide on a permanent replacement.

Sheriff Pat Kelly is facing 25 corruption charges brought against him by the attorney general's office.

Sheriff Kelly is facing suspension.

The commissioners are waiting to hear from the Supreme Court about when that will be.


UPDATE 3/27/2014 10:40 AM

The Athens County Commission is currently meeting to discuss a possible replacement for Sheriff Pat Kelly.

They are in executive session, meeting with candidates.

We have a reporter there and we will bring you the latest as it becomes available.


UPDATE 3/26/2014 3:25 PM

A vote on a temporary replacement is coming for the Athens County sheriff.

Thursday the county commission will make a decision on Sheriff Pat Kelly's replacement, if that should come.

The sheriff is facing 25 corruption charges brought against him by the attorney general's office.

The county commissioners have two candidates they will be choosing from to take the sheriff's place when he is suspended.

They are waiting to hear from the Supreme Court about when that will be.

Wednesday morning Sheriff Kelly decided withdrawal his request for a hearing.

The replacement Thursday is temporary until the Democratic committee meets to decide on a permanent replacement.

Their next meeting is scheduled for April 7th.


UPDATE: 2/19/2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A panel of three retired judges will consider whether to suspend a southeast Ohio sheriff who pleaded not guilty to 25 counts in a corruption case.

The Ohio Supreme Court says the commission appointed by the chief justice has two weeks to make a preliminary recommendation about whether Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly should be suspended.

The 63-year-old Kelly has denied any wrongdoing.

The charges against him include theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Kelly is accused of improperly using public funds to buy meals and personal apparel, selling county property to a scrapyard, stealing copper wire from a county garage and failing to keep a cashbook tracking money he received in an official capacity, among other allegations.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 2/10/2014 5:00 PM

Facing a 25 count indictment, Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly pleaded not guilty Monday.

The sheriff continues to proclaim his innocence as his pre-trial now awaits him.

The sheriff confidently says, when it's all said and done, he will be vindicated on all charges.

Sheriff Kelly pleaded not guilty to 25 criminal counts around 1:30 at the Athens County Courthouse.

Judge Patricia Cosgrove then released the sheriff on a $50,000 PR bond and ordered Kelly to the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail to have his fingerprints and picture taken.

While our cameras weren't allowed inside the courtroom, the sheriff did sit down with us afterwards.

He continues to say the truth is on his side and for right now, it's back to work.

"I am not guilty of any of these allegations," the sheriff says. "My intentions are to do exactly what the residents of Athens County elected me to do overwhelmingly and that's be the sheriff of Athens County."

The sheriff's intentions will also have to include hiring an attorney for his pre-trial hearing that's happening on the 28th.

Attorney General Mike DeWine's office accuses the sheriff of stealing from his own campaign fund, lying under oath, tampering with records and evidence and even more.

Kelly is expected to contest his recommended suspension from the attorney general.


UPDATE 2/10/2014 1:50 PM

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly pleads not guilty on all charges brought against him.

Pre-trial hearing is set for February 28 at 1 p.m.


UPDATE 2/10/2014 11:00 AM

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly will be arraigned in court Monday on 25 criminal charges, 23 of those being felonies.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his office say during Kelly's tenure as sheriff, the 63-year-old has stolen money from his own campaign fund, lied under oath, and he's even used taxpayer money for personal expenses like clothing and food.

The sheriff has been publicly defiant against the investigation, calling it politically motivated, and an attempt to overturn the results of his 2012 re-election campaign.

But investigators say that's not true.

"This is a public corruption case. What we allege is a pattern, a long standing pattern," says Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Kelly is also accused of tampering with records and evidence against him and most seriously, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, or racketeering.

The sheriff's arraignment is set for 1:00 Monday afternoon at the Athens County Courthouse.


UPDATE 2/4/2014 6:05 PM

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's attorney general is seeking to have suspension proceedings held for the Athens County Sheriff, who is facing felony charges.

Patrick Kelly was indicted Friday on 25 counts, including felony charges of theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The allegations against him date to 2008, the year he was first elected.

The 63-year-old Kelly denied criminal wrongdoing.

Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a motion Tuesday asking Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor to appoint a special three-judge commission to consider Kelly's suspension. She has 14 days to pick its members.

DeWine says the charges adversely affect the functioning of the office and the public's rights and interests.

Messages seeking comment were left with Kelly, who could contest any preliminary determination by the commission.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 1/31/2014 5:10 PM

Theft in office, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and perjury are among the charges.

Citing an indictment from a grand jury, the Ohio Attorney General's office says Sheriff Patrick Kelly used taxpayer money for personal expenses and he tried covering it up.

Attorney General Mike DeWine read the indictment Friday afternoon in Athens, accusing Sheriff Kelly of 25 felony and misdemeanor counts.

Those charges include money laundering, perjury, theft, tampering with evidence and tampering with records during Sheriff Kelly's tenure as the county's top law enforcer.

DeWine called the grand jury findings evidence of a repeated pattern of corruption.

"No one should take any pleasure in what happened today. When an elected official is indicted It is a very sad day - it is a sad day for the county, it's a sad day for the state," he says.


UPDATE 1/31/2014 4:05 PM

A special grand jury returns 25 counts against Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly.

They include theft in office, tampering with records, tampering with evidence, perjury, obstruction of official business, money laundering, dereliction of duty, theft and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the indictments during a news conference in Athens Friday.

Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller Blackburn released the following statement:

“The citizens of Athens County can rest assured that the wheels of justice are continuing to move and criminal defendants are being held accountable. The Office of County Prosecutor will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure that justice prevails. The cloud of allegations have now resulted in formal charges, it is time for the rest of Athens County to move forward from these illegalities and heal the reputation of law enforcement. The Athens County Prosecutor’s Office will not be involved in the prosecution of Kelly and will continue to assist only if requested by the Attorney General’s Office. This office has maintained independence from the investigation and will not comment publicly regarding Pat Kelly until the conclusion of the criminal matter.”

Sheriff Kelly issued the following press release on his Facebook page:

"Sadly the attorney Generals obsession with following a political agenda suggest that their leadership is not up to the kind of honest investigation and oversight that would lead to a clear and just assessment of the facts presented. I have not committed or attempted to commit a criminal act nor have any of my employees. After two years of accusations and suppositions in an attempt to overturn the results of this past election, in which which the majority of Athens a County voters cast their confidence in me, we will discuss this injustice in a court setting where the facts will be presented."


UPDATE 1/31/2014 2:00 PM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is holding a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Friday, January 31 in Athens.

Attorney General DeWine will discuss new developments in the special grand jury investigation into Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly.

We have a reporter there and we will bring you more information as it becomes available.

Click on the link to the right to watch the news conference live.


Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller Blackburn appoints Timothy McGinty as special prosecutor in the investigation into the sheriff's department .

McGinty is the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and will represent Sheriff Patrick Kelly during the Ohio State Attorney General Office's investigation of Sheriff Kelly's office.

Blackburn appointed McGinty to avoid the appearance of conflict after Sheriff Kelly's remarks.

Sheriff Kelly is accused of destroying public criminal records, throwing them into a landfill.


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