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UPDATE: Former Sheriff Found Guilty on 18 of 25 Counts

By: Rachele, Mongiovi, WTAP News, The Associated Press Email
By: Rachele, Mongiovi, WTAP News, The Associated Press Email
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UPDATE 2/12/2015 6:10 PM

Former Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly is found guilty on 18 of 25 counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

The counts Kelly is found guilty of include the following:
count one, theft in office
count two, theft in office
count three, theft in office
count four, theft in office
count five, theft in office
count six, theft in office
count seven, theft in office
count eight theft of office
count 10, theft in office concerning meals
count 11, theft in office involving cashing campaign checks
count 12, theft in office involving spaghetti dinner proceeds
count 13 theft in office, cashing check
count 16, perjury
count 18, failure to keep a cash book
count 21, theft of property
count 23, theft in office concerning meals
count 24, theft in office involving campaign money
count 25, a pattern of corrupt activity

Kelly was found not guilty of the following:
count nine, theft in office of cash box
count 14, tampering with records
count 15, tampering with evidence
count 17, obstructing official business
count 19, money laundering
count 20, dereliction of duty
count 22, theft in office of cash box

Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller Blackburn released the following statement:

"Our system of justice has brought a close to these matters. The jury has spoken and my office looks forward to continuing to work with all of the dedicated law enforcement officials who continuously strive to pursue justice on behalf of Athens County."


UPDATE 2/12/2015 5:45 PM

Former Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly is found guilty on 18 of 25 counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.


UPDATE 2/12/2015 5:40 PM

Jurors finished deliberations in the Pat Kelly trial.

A verdict is expected soon.


UPDATE: 02/11/2015 6:24 PM

After eight hours of deliberating, the jury has not come up with a verdict in the corruption trial against Pat Kelly.

Jurors entered the courthouse at 9 Wednesday morning to begin looking at every piece of evidence in this case. This case is considered a "paper case" due to the vast amounts of paperwork and documents.

The 12-person jury did not feel ready to give a verdict Wednesday evening, so they will return to the Athens County Courthouse Thursday morning to continue deliberating.

If Pat Kelly is acquitted, he will return to his position as the Sheriff of Athens County. Interim Sheriff, Rodney Smith, who was once retired, will go back into retirement, according to Athens County Prosecutor, Keller Blackburn.

UPDATE: 02/10/2015 4:10 PM

The jury now deliberating in trial of former Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly.

WTAP News has a reporter at the court house & will have the verdict as soon as it comes down.

Watch WTAP @5 & WTAP News @ 6 for the latest.


UPDATE 2/10/2015 2:15 PM

Both parties rested their case Tuesday and both the defendant and the state summed up the trial in their closing statements in the Pat Kelly trial.

The state talks about all of the 25 felony counts against Pat Kelly.

Among the charges are theft in office, tampering with records, perjury and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

The state says they hold the burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, and hope the jury finds Kelly guilty.

Defense attorney, Scott Wood, says this investigation had been going on for years and they are bound to find mistakes.

He says all that the state presented was a "lack of documentation."

He says all who testified provided "speculation".

He says he is confident the 12 person jury can find Kelly innocent on all charges.

From here on out the fate of Pat Kelly lies in the hands of the jury.

The jury will go over evidence before coming to a verdict.


UPDATE 2/9/2015 8:50 PM

The defense presents their case to the jury Monday as their final witness takes the stand. Patrick Kelly was called to the stand in a 5 hour testimony.

Kelly says he never used county funds for non-law enforcement purposes, didn't scrap copper wire, never gave out conceal and carry permits without proper procedure and did not use campaign funds for personal reasons.

Kelly is accused of destroying records and dumping them into a landfill. He says the reason being, he needed more space for evidence, but each record has been documented.

"Have you ever had a meal that you purchased using FOJ funds that was not for a law enforcement purpose? No. Did you ever scrap spools of copper wire? Absolutely not, never. Have you ever told your employees not to charge someone for a CCW applicant a fee? No I did not," questions defense attorney, Scott Wood. Pat Kelly replies.

The trial is set to start Tuesday with closing statements and then the waiting game starts as the jurors decide Kelly's fate. if guilty on all 25 counts, he could face up to 40 years in prison.


UPDATE 2/9/2015 12:10 PM

Former Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly takes the stand in his own defense.

Kelly testified Monday in an Athens County courtroom.

The former sheriff faces 25 felony counts and his trial started two weeks ago.

Kelly is the final witness and the defense is expected to wrap up their case Monday.


UPDATE 2/6/2015 5:35 PM

The prosecution made their case Thursday by wrapping up with their final witnesses taking the stand. Friday the defense attorney Scott Wood calls in over 7 witnesses to testify in favor of Pat Kelly.

A fiscal officer from the Athens County Sheriffs Office testified to say that there was never a time where Kelly didn't give a receipt for public funds and says that anytime cash was given to Kelly for drug buys, it was also documented.

Another witness says she assisted in the process of destroying records and each box that was destroyed was only from the Athens County Sheriffs Office and documented by picture evidence.

Kelly is accused of stealing copper wire from Verizon. Out of 5 spools, 2 were supposedly missing, but that was cleared up today when a Lieutenant took the stand and accounted for all 5 copper wire spools.

None of the testimonies from today show Kelly doing anything inappropriate or corrupt.

"Has he ever asked you to do anything in regard to the accounts or anything involving your job duties that you thought was questionable or inappropriate?," says Attorney Scott Wood, " No," replies Dawn Renee Deputy. "Do you think Sheriff Kelly was a good Sheriff? Yeah I had no problem working for him."

Each witness vouched for Kelly, clearing up accusations, but more witnesses will be called to take the stand next week.

The judge dismissed some pieces of evidence on Friday due to editorial comments made on the pieces of evidence. No charges were dismissed, but an incident used as part of the evidence in relation to the engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity charge is now off the record.


UPDATE 2/3/2015 4:20 PM

More evidence against Pat Kelly surfaces in the courtroom Tuesday and this time it's on video.

A felony investigator from the Athens County Prosecutors office is the voice of the recorded evidence, which shows a landfill full of files from the Athens County Sheriffs office along with cds, drivers licenses and a VHS tape.The Prosecutors office recovered more than a thousand files, none of which belonged to their office.

A second witness testified to address issues Kelly had with the anti-nepotism law and how he wanted it changed in Ohio. He said Kelly tried to hire his son, but the law sees it as a 5th degree felony.

"He thought it was wrong, he thought the law should allow it and allow his son to follow in his footsteps. I told him his son could get another job in another county or city, as long as he didn't use his influence to get him that job, says Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, Executive Director, Robert Cornwall.

Sheriff Larry Mincks was also called in to testify, he was there as a reference to explain the appropriate use of county funds in the Sheriffs office. He agrees that some of Kelly's expenditures were not reasonable.


UPDATE 2/2/2015 5:16 PM

A key witness takes the stand Monday, Keller Blackburn, Athens County Prosecuting Attorney.

Blackburn talks about his relationship with Kelly, saying he considered him a friend and Kelly had supported him during Blackburns election.

Blackburn says their friendship hit a major bump when he became aware of illegal expenditures of two suits that Kelly bought with county funds.

He found out there was money missing from a cash box, misuse of funds and misuse of a county vehicle.

He also touched on the destroyed records. Blackburn says approximately 60 boxes or 1,800 files went missing. Blackburn received word about several truck loads of files being dumped in a landfill. Investigators uncovered those files which were from the Athens County Sheriff's Office.

Blackburn admits he doesn't believe Kelly threw the files away, but says Kelly started lying and accusing Blackburn of things that were untrue.

"At some point, it just became absurd what was going on. At the level of what was going on and what was happening with the county and the blanket allegations he would make in letters to me or on Facebook, just lost their point of believability to the point where they almost became comical," says Prosecutor, Keller Blackburn.

Blackburn says he hasn't had a friendship with Kelly in quite some time, saying his last text message from Sheriff was in May of 2013.


UPDATE: 1/30/2015 4:36 PM

Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly is in contempt of court during trial. Kelly was fined $500 this morning for making a comment to a Columbus news reporter.

A gag order was put in place at the beginning of the case by judge Patricia Cosgrove.

The Ohio Attorney General's office became aware of the incident through Ohio Universities' student newspaper quoting Kelly's statement by over hearing the exchange of words.

The article said Kelly made the statement during a break in the trial saying he made it apparent he's confident about the trial.

The judge brought the NBC 4 reporter into chambers with the prosecution and defense and Kelly was fined immediately and was told if he spoke off record again he would be put in jail.


UPDATE: 1/28/2015 11:15am

Day one of the State of Ohio vs. Pat Kelly trial begins Wednesday morning with opening statements.

The State of Ohio presented its case to the 12-person jury.

The State believes the defendant used his campaign to commit theft.

Prosecutor James Roberts says Kelly stole more than $4,000 from a cash box, took county property to a scrap yard and pocketed the money, stole campaign fund both times and stole over $7,000 with personal restaurant expenditures.

The prosecution also says Kelly tampered with records and evidence after knowing he was under investigation. He knew the proper process of destroying records, but failed to go through the process. He also is accused of handing out concealed and carry permits to friends with no background check or fingerprints for free.

In opening statements for the defense, Mr. Kelly's attorney he says that the former sheriff clashed with many elected officials and state officials. Saying he was accused of things that were later proved wrong. He says the cash that was unaccounted for was used to pay confidential informants. Defense attorney also states that Kelly has nothing to do with conceal and carry permits and they are handled by another agency.


UPDATE 1/76/15 7:10 P.M.

Day two of jury selection began Tuesday morning. After an 8 hour day, both parties are able to seat a 12-person jury.

The jury box consists of 10 women and 2 men. There are 5 alternate jurors in case of an emergency, which consists of 4 men and 1 woman.

The judge began the day asking general questions to the jurors about their personal lives. The state of Ohio and the defense followed with additional questions.

Trial is set to start Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. at the Athens County Courthouse. Judge Patricia Cosgrove expects the trial to last up to two weeks.


UPDATE 1/26/15 5:40 P.M.

The man indicted on 25 felony counts appears in court Monday. Athens County Sheriff, Pat Kelly, and the Ohio Attorney General's Office start the process of jury selection.

A total of 41 jurors showed up to the Athens County courthouse Monday afternoon. Lawyers on each side questioned the jurors with the intent to fill all 12 seats.

The biggest issue for filling the seats is finding jurors who are unbiased. There were talks that the trial could potentially take place outside of Athens County, but judge Patricia Cosgrove intends to keep it in Athens.

Out of 41 jurors ,15 of them personally know Pat Kelly and 24 of them are already informed about the case through the media.

After some preliminary questioning, 12 jurors were excused for causes outside of the trial, making the total number of jurors to 29.

Both parties asked questions to those who already formed an opinion about Kelly and the case and the biggest question was if they could deliver an impartial verdict.

Jury selection is suppose to take several days and the judge says the trial could take up to two and a half weeks.

The charges against Kelly include; theft in office, tampering with record and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. These could carry a combined sentence of 40 years in prison.


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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