Pike County Sheriff back in court Friday; special prosecutor assigned to case

Posted: Jun. 19, 2014 10:21 am Updated: Jul. 10, 2014 12:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty will be back in Pike County Circuit Court on Friday.

According to Pike County Circuit Clerk Debbie Dugan, Petty is set to appear with his lawyer, Rick Frazier of Springfield, during an 11 a.m. hearing in his felony official misconduct case in front of Adams County Associate Judge Chet Vahle. Dugan said Petty will appear with counsel to determine the status of the case.

The case has been in limbo since Petty made his first appearance June 2. Vahle said at the time that he was going to try to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case. Ed Parkinson with the Illinois State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutor's Office has been assigned as the special prosecutor.

Former Pike County State's Attorney Carrie Boyd filed felony official misconduct and failure to perform duties charges against Petty on May 16. Petty was charged with misconduct in his role as the county's coroner in connection with a September 2012 death investigation. Boyd filed charges against Petty in connection with the Sept. 26, 2012, death investigation of Shanda M. Lopez, 47, of Milton. Boyd said Petty failed to have blood samples drawn for a toxicology report before the body was embalmed.

A Pearl man, John R. Edgar, 26, was charged with drug-induced homicide in Lopez's death. He is scheduled to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter at a June 26 hearing. If Judge Diane Lagoski concurs with the plea negotiation, Edgar will be sentenced to 30 months probation and time served in the Pike County Jail.

Boyd resigned as Pike County State's Attorney on June 2. She has since been replaced by Matt Goetten, a Democrat from Greene County. Goetten will serve through Nov. 30.

If convicted of the Class 3 felony, Petty faces between two and five years in prison and could be fined up to $25,000. Petty, 46, has been the county's sheriff and coroner since 1998. He is still serving in both capacities.