Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Document details likely witnesses in Curry case

By The Herald Staff | 2/28/2013

A former Franklin County attorney, an Ottawa police officer and the mother of a fallen Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputy appear to be among the witnesses slated to be called to testify in the case against Sheriff Jeff Curry and one of his top deputies.

A court document filed Wednesday by J. Todd Hiatt, a special prosecutor working on behalf of the Franklin County Attorney’s Office and the State of Kansas, details a list of individuals who might be called as witnesses in a case that has ensnared the county’s top law enforcement official and his public information officer, Jerrod Fredricks.

The potential witness list, according to the document, appears to include Heather R. Jones, former Franklin County attorney and more recently head of the child abuse and sex crimes unit for the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office; Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department; Kathleen “Katie” Smith, the mother of deceased Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sam Smith; James Bridges, special agent with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Fredricks; Sgt. Christopher Pruitt; Lt. Curtis Hall; Jeremie Thompson; Jessica Blackstone; Sheri McCracken; KBI lab personnel; Wyandotte County personnel; and others.

Made public in September, a KBI investigation into Curry’s office resulted Wednesday in the sheriff’s arrest on a felony charge of interference with law enforcement (false report) and a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct, setting bond at $3,000, according to a release from the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office.

Along with Curry, the KBI arrested Fredricks, master deputy and public information officer with the sheriff’s office, on charges of interference with law enforcement, with bond set at $1,500.

Both were out of custody Thursday morning, having paid their bonds. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office would not confirm whether either of the two men returned to work Thursday.

Curry and Fredricks, who had been in custody Wednesday afternoon at the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office, were set for their first court appearance in Franklin County District Court 11 a.m. March 6.

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