Former DeKalb County Sheriff's deputy, Larry Pedigo, Jr. said his faith has been restored in the judicial system after he was found innocent of a drug charge against him last week in Warren County Criminal Court following a trial.
The jury, Thursday afternoon, found Pedigo not guilty of fraudulently obtaining drugs (oxycontin) from the Ameri-Care Urgent Care Clinic in McMinnville. He was originally indicted on two counts of delivery of a schedule II narcotic (oxycontin) and two counts of fraudulently obtaining drugs (oxycontin).
On Saturday morning, Pedigo released the following statement:
"This has been one of the hardest things I've ever went through. It's been the longest 16 months of my life. I can't begin to tell anyone how it was so I won't go into that too much."
"I know I was in the news spotlight before I ever got charged. My name came out with the other officers in August 2009 when the Ameri-Care Urgent Care clinic in McMinnville got raided."
"I chose to resign my position at that time for certain legal reasons and I knew I had lost the respect I had worked so long to gain from the public. I had only been implicated at that time, not charged. I knew the respect and trust was lost by certain events that happened to my family and me after my name and picture came to light. My family and I couldn't go anywhere in the public without hearing comments or seeing gestures made."
"When you are in a position as I was, everyone sees you differently when something like this happens to you. There was a certain store in DeKalb County I had traded with for years and I had a charge account there. I would get items and could pay a week or so later. After the clinic raid and my name came out, I went into the store and was going to charge some items. But the same owner that just a few weeks earlier told me I could charge anything in the store, looked at me and said ‘we can't do that for you anymore. That's how it's been for my family and me ever since this happened."
"In November, 2009 I was indicted in Warren County on two counts of delivery of a schedule II drug (Oxycontin) and two counts of fraudulently obtaining a schedule II drug (Oxycontin). I had to make a $40,000 bond on the charges. I couldn't figure out how they charged me with two counts of each because I had only received one prescription of Oxycontin for a knee injury that I sustained at work. The injury resulted in surgery."
"My attorney filed a motion for discovery which means they have to turn over certain evidence and paperwork to us. We discovered that counts 1 & 2 were on a date that I had a rock solid alibi for. I had several credible witnesses who were more than willing to say where I was from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. My attorney, Hilton Conger, submitted that to the state prosecutors and counts 1&2 were dropped. That left me facing two charges."
"I was offered plea bargains by the state prosecutors but I refused to take any of the offers. I maintained my innocence and insisted on a trial. In fact, my attorney requested a speedy trial date in September, 2009 on my behalf. I was ready to move forward. It had been long enough! I was offered plea bargains so good that any guilty party would have jumped on them. But not me! I wanted my day or days, as it went, in court."
"My trial started Wednesday, January 19th. That is 14 months after I was indicted. At the end of the state's so called proof, my attorney made a motion for the judge to give me a direct verdict himself. The judge granted the motion and dropped the delivery charge before it ever went to the jury. That meant there was three (charges) down and one to go. One count of fraudulently obtaining a prescription."
"We returned to court Thursday morning, January 20th. The state prosecutor made his closing statement and then it was my attorney's turn. He really did a good job. Then it was left up to the jury. After a few hours of deliberations, the jury had reached a verdict. The jury came in and when the jury foreman read the verdict "not guilty", I let out a sigh of relief. It was finally over! I walked out of the Warren County Courthouse with a clean slate again."
" I had been in law enforcement for several years and when this happened to me, I lost some faith in the judicial system. I mean, I was in law enforcement so I had all the faith in the world in the system, but I lost it. But when the verdict was read and I walked out of that courtroom it's like I gained all my faith back at once. I remembered right then why I had always wanted to be a cop ever since I was a kid."
"I'm not sure If I ever will be back in law enforcement or not, but at least I can if I want to. I want to thank everyone who stood by me and those who never doubted me through this life changing experience, especially my wife, kids, and family. It wasn't only me who suffered through all of this. They did too! Also I want to commend my attorney, Hilton Conger. He worked very hard for me and I couldn't have asked for a better attorney. He did an excellent job."
Dick Kinsey, Commander of the Short Mountain Highway Station was named "2010 County Firefighter of the Year" Saturday night during the department's annual awards banquet held at the Smithville Church of God annex.
County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony, said Kinsey met all the department's criteria in earning this award. "Dick was awarded the firefighter of the year based on his community service, training attendance, and his fire call participation. He was scored on those three factors and he had the highest score. As a result he was awarded the 2010 firefighter of the year."
Lieutenant Anthony Boyd, for the second year in a row, received the "Officer of the Year" award. Chief Green said the same three elements used to select the "Firefighter of the Year" are also used by the department in honoring the Officer of the Year, training attendance, incident response attendance, and community service. " Anthony is one of our county wide lieutenants. He is a very active person in the department.. He does a lot of work behind the scenes, washing our turnout gear, etc. He participates in a lot of community service projects, such as seniors citizens events. He was involved at the Jamboree and he participates in other community service things that we do outside the department. As a result of his community service, his training attendance, and his fire call participation, Anthony was awarded the 2010 Officer of the Year."
The "Rookie" award went to Kevin Adcock of the Short Mountain Station. Chief Green said this award is totally based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter in his first year of service to the department."We base that award on training hours that they complete during their first year of membership in the department. We feel like that is a very vital part of their membership during their first year and we want to make sure they get good training. We try to recognize those firefighters who put forth the extra effort in making that first year on the department a good training experience. This year Kevin had the most training hours in the department and that's how he was awarded the 2010 Rookie of the Year. He is from the Short Mountain Station and he has been in the department for about a year now."
The Git-R-Done award goes to Billy Fuson of the Belk Station, who was unable to attend the banquet. According to Chief Green, Fuson has not only served the fire department but his country as well, having just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. "He was deployed to Afghanistan a little over a year ago and returned in December. We award this to someone who has done something outstanding, not necessarily just in the department but outstanding in the sense that it reflected well on the community. This year we decided that no one was any more deserving than Billy Fuson. He has certainly served his country well and represented DeKalb County well. He has always been a very strong and active member of the department and as a result of his commitment and dedication to our country we felt that no one was any more worthy to be awarded the 2010 Git-R-Done Award than Billy Fuson."
Two other firefighters, Assistant Chief Roy Merriman, and Lieutenant and Training Officer James Pennington each received a special award for their leadership in helping make the department's training program one of the best in the state. In fact, for 2010, Chief Green said the county volunteer fire department was tops in the state for training hours. "There's about 749 departments in Tennessee and we were awarded the number one volunteer fire department out of the whole state. We felt like these men were due recognition for heading up and coordinating our training program. It speaks well of our department and as a result we made a special presentation to Assistant Chief Roy Merriman and Lieutenant James Pennington for their efforts in making our training program such a huge success."
Meanwhile Jerry Wayne Johnson, Commander of the Liberty Station received a thirty five year service pin. Captain Jeff Williams was presented a pin for twenty years of service. Lieutenant Jay Cantrell and Anthony Johnson and Darrell Johnson both of the Liberty Station were recognized for ten years,each receiving a pin for their length of service, and Lieutenant Bradley Mullinax and Jeff Rankhorn of the Belk Station each received a five year service pin. C.J. Tramel of the Short Mountain Highway Station, who was absent, will also receive a pin for five years of service.
Several members of the department were also presented cash awards, funded through a federal safer grant, which Chief Green said is to help retain and recruit firefighters."In 2008, we were awarded a Safer Grant from the federal government that is a non-matching local grant and does not require any local funding, it's 100% federal, to help us recruit and retain firefighters. Some of the things we've done is provide these training award incentives for firefighters such as length of service awards, firefighter of the year, rookie of the year, and for firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training or at least 75% of their monthly training. We've made those awards and we hope that's a tool we can use to help encourage our firefighters to stay on board and continue being involved with training in our department." Firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training each received $400 and those who made 75% of their monthly training took home $200 each.