Updated: Noble County Sheriff And His Wife Resign

By: WTAP News, Leslie Cebula Email
By: WTAP News, Leslie Cebula Email

Update: 9:11 p.m.

Friday special prosecuting attorney Dave Yost, the Delaware County prosecutor, announced Noble County Sheriff Landon Smith resigned after being in office for more than 35 years. Yost said it was part of an agreement with his office that Smith would enter a plea on two charges.

The Ohio Ethics Commission and the special prosecutor's office plan to file a fourth degree felony charge of having an unlawful interest in a public contract against Smith next week.

"This charge stems from hiring against the advice from council his wife and his daughter-in-law on a public payroll," said Yost.

Friday Smith's wife, Peggy, who was a deputy also resigned.

"The ethics charge stemmed from his assignment to his wife of a sheriff's vehicle that she used for personal business. We have photographs of the vehicle in the Walmart parking lot while she was shopping on a day off with child restraint seats in the back," said Yost.

Landon Smith also faces a first degree misdemeanor charge of conflict of interest.

"The sheriff would take inmates from the jail in a public vehicle out to his home to have them perform chores such as picking berries and hedge trimming," Yost said.

Members of the community gathered to hear the charges.
Kaleigh Pangle, a Noble County resident said "He (Landon Smith) has been our sheriff for as long as I have been alive and he's been great and it's a great loss for our county and I just think they should go spend their money somewhere else."

Another Noble County resident who did not want to show her face on camera or release her name said "It's time for a change and justice needs to be served."

The Noble County commissioners appointed Stephen Hannum to be the new sheriff. Now the democratic executive committee will decide whether or not he will be the sheriff for the next 45 days and then after that in November 2010 the voters will decide who will be the sheriff.

The chief investigating attorney for the Ohio Ethics Commission says the attorneys received a confidential complaint and started investigating this past fall.

Yost would not reveal exactly how long the misconduct may have been going on but did say it is suspected to have been going on for years.

If convicted Smith could face up to 18 months in jail for the felony charge plus six more months behind bars for the misdemeanor.

Smith is expected to enter a plea in court on June 3.

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Update: 3:47pm

Noble County Commissioners name Stephen Hannum interim Sheriff.

Hannum officially takes over position after being sworn in at 5:00pm.

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Noble County Sheriff Landon Smith and his wife, Peggy, have resigned from the Sheriff's Office after being charged with two offenses.

Smith is facing charges of nepotism and private use of Sheriff's Office vehicles and prisoners.

The Ohio Ethics Commission had named Delaware County Prosecutor David Yost as special prosecutor in the case.

Yost announced the charges at a press conference in Caldwell Friday afternoon.

An interim sheriff is expected to be named later Friday afternoon.


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