Grand Jury Reconvenes Wednesday

Steve Robb - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Updated Wed, Jan 22, 2014 10:14 am

UPDATE 10:11 a.m. A special Athens County grand jury believed to be looking into matters involving Sheriff Patrick Kelly continued to meet Wednesday at the Athens County Courthouse.

On Tuesday, the jury heard from five current or former employees of the sheriff's office. The nature of their testimony has not been made public, as grand jury meetings are held behind closed doors.

The grand jury, convened by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, first met in June, and again in September.

Although the attorney general's office has not disclosed the purpose of the grand jury, it's known that the office has been asked to investigate several matters relating to Kelly. Among those are disposal of county records, audit findings and an alleged assault.

Kelly has said repeatedly that there has been no wrongdoing.

Five current or former employees of the Athens County Sheriff’s Office appeared Tuesday before a special grand jury looking into allegations related to Sheriff Patrick Kelly.

The grand jury met Tuesday for the first time since September, having first started hearing testimony in June at the request of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

It was unclear if the grand jury would resume hearing testimony Wednesday.

Assistant Attorney General James Roberts, who conducted Tuesday’s grand jury session with Assistant Attorney General Melissa Schiffel, declined to comment afterward, and would not say whether the grand jury will be meeting again this week.

Grand jury proceedings are conducted behind closed doors, but five current and former employees of the sheriff’s office were seen entering the grand jury room Tuesday.

The two current employees are Deputy Steve Sedwick and Brynne Morris, who works in records.

Former employees who appeared before the grand jury Tuesday are Michelle Williams, who was an administrative assistant; Vicki Marshall, the former fiscal officer of the sheriff’s office; and Angela Waldron, the former records clerk.

None of those who appeared before the grand jury would answer The Messenger’s questions regarding what they testified about.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has not said what the grand jury is considering.

County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn has confirmed previously that he’d asked the attorney general’s office to investigate several matters, including Kelly’s alleged disposal of prosecutor’s office records, a state audit with findings against Kelly and an assault complaint in which Kelly was accused of stuffing a flier into a man’s shirt pocket.

It’s also known that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, an arm of the attorney general’s office, has made inquiries about the sheriff’s sale of scrap, and that a grand jury subpoena was issued for sheriff’s office records related to confidential informants. Kelly attempted to block the subpoena for the records — arguing that turning them over would hurt law enforcement efforts — but it’s not known whether he was successful because court files have been sealed.

Kelly, who has denied any wrongdoing, appeared before the grand jury for just a few minutes in June.

He later told The Messenger that he was read his Miranda rights, and had declined to answer questions based on legal advice he had received.

In September, a BCI forensic accountant was among those who appeared before the grand jury.