EVANSVILLE — A plea agreement filed Monday in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court by Special Prosecutor Stan Levco in the State of Indiana vs Ronald W. Morgan outlines terms of the agreement and Morgan’s rights under those terms.
The agreement is for a plea of guilty to one count of ghost employment, a Class D felony. Morgan’s attorney, John A. Goodridge of Evansville, provided the Times Herald with information for that charge and with a copy of the plea agreement. The information states: “That between November 1, 2009, and August 31, 2011, in Daviess County, State of Indiana, Ronald W. Morgan, a public servant employed by a governmental entity, the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, knowingly accepted property, to-wit: United States currency in the form of a salary for the performance of his duties as Chief Deputy Sheriff of Daviess County, while engaging in activity not related to the performance of his duties or the operation of the governmental entity, to-wit: Ronald W. Morgan, between November 1, 2009, and August 31, 2011, while on duty and in uniform repeatedly engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with a female, T.J.”
Morgan originally was indicted by a grand jury in October 2011 for bribery and assisting a criminal, both Class C felonies, while employed by the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office. The bribery indictment states he “... solicited and/or accepted property from Janessa Edwards-McCracken in exchange for information to avoid prosecution for dealing in methamphetamine and/or possession of methamphetamine.” The indictment for assisting a criminal states “... Ronald W. Morgan did provide information to Janessa Edwards-McCracken so that Janessa Edwards-McCracken could avoid prosecution for dealing in methamphetamine, a Class A felony.”
A Tuesday Times Herald story stated: “The agreement charges Morgan with one count of ghost employment — accepting a salary from the sheriff’s department while engaged in activities not related to performance of his duties, sexual activity with the female suspect — between Nov. 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2011.” But Goodridge emphasized in a phone call that the female, “T.J.,” referred to in the ghost employment charge is not the same female referred to in the original charges, Janessa Edwards-McCracken, and “T.J.” is not a suspect in any criminal activity.
Morgan appeared in person, with Goodridge, for the plea hearing Monday and was advised by Judge Carl Heldt that the judge will review the plea agreement and a pre-sentence report and either accept or reject the plea agreement. Morgan was advised of his rights and acknowledged that he understood and waived his rights.
The former chief deputy withdrew his not-guilty plea to the original charges and voluntarily entered a guilty plea to the ghost employment charge. According to the plea agreement, he may argue treatment as a Class A misdemeanor, and the court is free to impose any sentence allowable by law. If the judge accepts the plea agreement, the other charges will be dismissed.
“The defendant further states that he understands the penalties for each of the crimes set forth in the information or indictment and has had explained to his satisfaction, the maximum and minimum sentence ...,” according to the plea agreement.
If convicted of ghost employment under the plea agreement, Morgan could face six months to three years incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine. If treated as a Class A misdemeanor, incarceration could be 0-12 months with a possible $5,000 fine, according to Indiana Criminal Code. The original Class C felonies each carried a term of two to eight years incarceration and possible fine up to $10,000.
Sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 20.
- Local News
Republicans to vote on new trustee
Republicans from Washington Township will meet today to vote on a new township trustee.
Fifteen committee chairmen from Washington Township will vote at 8:45 a.m. today to fill the position following the death of Albert “Pete” Showalter, who died on April 13.
North, Owens 'Play' hard
North Elementary School celebrated its field day Friday with games, ice cream, inflatable fun houses and Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders.
B-R to graduate 41
Barr-Reeve High School will hold its 48th commencement exercises on May 25, in the high school gymnasium at 2 p.m. Again this year, the graduation will be an afternoon affair.
1:03 a.m. - Karen Hulsey, of 511 S. Meridian St. reported a subject possibly hiding the bushes behind her residence. She stated she didn’t see anyone, but could hear coughing.
School board approves new handbooks
Members of the Washington Community Schools Board approved the 2013- 2014 school handbooks. Elementary, junior high and high school student handbooks will now be more streamlined with one another. One major change to the handbooks will be a stricter attendance policy for students. Currently, students in the school district can have 10 unexcused absences per semester.
Unchained Gang roars into park
The Daviess County Unchained Gang will be hosting its 11th annual motorcycle show and swap meet Saturday at Eastside Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
DECA to sponsor dodgeball tourney
Members of the Washington High School DECA Chapter will be hosting a DECA Dodgeball Tournament on Tuesday in the Hatchet House beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Road paving in Washington
The Indiana Department of Transportation is advising motorists to be aware of temporary lane restrictions on Bus. 50 in Washington. Beginning on or after Monday, May 20, crews will be spot paving throughout the city. Work will be accomplished one lane at a time and utilize flag persons to control traffic through the work zones. Work activities are scheduled to take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day with all paving operations anticipated to be complete by May 24. Inclement weather will cancel the work operation for the day.
7:56 p.m. - A complainant on E. Nat'l Hwy. reported there was a truck popped open playing very loud music.
2:19 p.m. - Dave Waters, 200 1/2 SE 7th St., reported that someone had broken into his storage building and broke the windows out of the vehicles stored there. Waters also said that someone had smashed in the roofs on many of the vehicles. Extra patrol was requested.
- More Local News Headlines
- Republicans to vote on new trustee