By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Arrangements to transport former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence “Larry” Hodge back to Whitley County to face several charges are not yet complete.
However, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Stephens, the state stands more than ready to prosecute the former sheriff, who is currently jailed in Elkton Federal Prison in Ohio.
That’s why a pretrial conference has been scheduled in Hodge’s case for July 29.
What is complete, according to Stephens, is the recent assignment of a special judge to the case — Judge David Tapp, from Pulaski County.
Stephens explained that while this case had been before Senior Judge James Bowling, Bowling is now “totally retired” from the position.
“I can’t comment on the details (concerning) July’s pretrial (conference),” Stephens said. “But we want to resolve this and get this case finished — but we’ve got to get him here before we do.”
Stephens added that his office “has attempted to get this heard for the last year.”
Hodge was sentenced to 15 and a half years in September 2011 in U.S. District Court in London on three separate crimes — conspiring to obstruct, delay and affect…commerce…by extortion, using controlled substances without proper prescriptions, and conspiring with a former sheriff’s office employee who did bookkeeping.
Hodge faces 21 state charges of abuse of public trust as well as evidence tampering. The former sheriff was arrested in November 2010 after a special grand jury handed down the 21-count indictment against him. That indictment charges Hodge with 12 counts of abuse of public trust exceeding $10,000, six counts of abuse of public trust less than $10,000 and three counts of tampering with evidence.
Hours after his arrest, Hodge was released on a $150,000 property bond.