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Venue Change Granted For Morgan Trial
Updated May 5, 2013 1:06 AM | Filed under: WBIW News
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(WASHINGTON) - Former Daviess County Chief Deputy, Ron Morgan, was granted a change of venue in the criminal case filed against him in Daviess County Superior Court Oct. 28, 2011, and a jury trial was scheduled.

Andrea McCann, of the Washington Times-Herald, reports Special Judge Carl Heldt will hear the case in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court.

The court's staff attorney, Julia Langerak, said a preliminary not-guilty plea was entered for Morgan by the court at an initial hearing ,and an Aug. 20 trial date was set.

Morgan was indicted by a grand jury in October 2011 for bribery and assisting a criminal, both Class C felonies, while in the employ of the sheriff's department.

Heldt was ordered in January to hear the case after Daviess Superior Court Judge Dean A. Sobecki made a motion last November to recuse himself from the case due to a conflict of interest.

Vanderburgh County Special Prosecutor Stan Levco was assigned to present the state's case, which was investigated by Indiana State Police detectives following allegations of official misconduct that surfaced during a drug investigation by the sheriff's department.

The allegations surfaced when, during service of a search warrant, Janessa Edwards-McCracken of Washington told investigators she'd been able to avoid arrest in the past because she'd been tipped off by Morgan. He allegedly asked for sexual favors in return for protection from arrest and also for allegedly sharing privileged information with her.

Morgan was placed on paid administrative leave in September and relieved of all command and police powers pending completion the ISP investigation. Following the grand jury indictment, Morgan turned himself in at the sheriff's department and was arrested. He was released on $7,500 bond the same day. He retired from DCSD at the end of 2011.

According to Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit, Morgan had comp time built up and DCSD was allowed to use that for the time Morgan was on leave.

In March, Harbstreit approached the Daviess County Council about reimbursing Morgan for his unused benefits, and a request for $1,000 in longevity pay, $10,219.20 in vacation pay and $9,298.41 in sick pay was submitted.

The council tabled the matter until county attorney Grant Swartzentruber could look into it.

"We will pay him what he's owed," Swartzentruber said. "We have been in discussions with his attorney about this."

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