Monday, December 25, 2000

Accused sheriff turns down plea bargain

The Associated Press

        LANCASTER, Ohio — Fairfield County Sheriff Gary DeMastry turned down a proposal to send him to prison for three years in return for a plea of guilty to charges of misspending $330,000 in public money.

        Sheriff DeMastry pleaded not guilty Friday to 20 new charges related to an investigation that accuses him of misspending public money. He also faces 323 public corruption charges that he pleaded not guilty to in February.

        He faces a Feb. 16 trial and could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison.

        Sheriff DeMastry, 45, whose term ends Dec. 31, declined to comment on the report published in the Columbus Dispatch on Saturday that he turned down a plea bargain.

        “I've served the community for 20 years,” he told the newspaper Friday. “I am very happy for that. I have a week left, and I plan to be in the office. I wish everyone a happy holiday season and a safe one.”


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