EVANSVILLE — A plea agreement filed Monday in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court by Special Prosecutor Stan Levco in the State of Indiana vs Ronald W. Morgan outlines terms of the agreement and Morgan’s rights under those terms.
The agreement is for a plea of guilty to one count of ghost employment, a Class D felony. Morgan’s attorney, John A. Goodridge of Evansville, provided the Times Herald with information for that charge and with a copy of the plea agreement. The information states: “That between November 1, 2009, and August 31, 2011, in Daviess County, State of Indiana, Ronald W. Morgan, a public servant employed by a governmental entity, the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, knowingly accepted property, to-wit: United States currency in the form of a salary for the performance of his duties as Chief Deputy Sheriff of Daviess County, while engaging in activity not related to the performance of his duties or the operation of the governmental entity, to-wit: Ronald W. Morgan, between November 1, 2009, and August 31, 2011, while on duty and in uniform repeatedly engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with a female, T.J.”
Morgan originally was indicted by a grand jury in October 2011 for bribery and assisting a criminal, both Class C felonies, while employed by the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office. The bribery indictment states he “... solicited and/or accepted property from Janessa Edwards-McCracken in exchange for information to avoid prosecution for dealing in methamphetamine and/or possession of methamphetamine.” The indictment for assisting a criminal states “... Ronald W. Morgan did provide information to Janessa Edwards-McCracken so that Janessa Edwards-McCracken could avoid prosecution for dealing in methamphetamine, a Class A felony.”
A Tuesday Times Herald story stated: “The agreement charges Morgan with one count of ghost employment — accepting a salary from the sheriff’s department while engaged in activities not related to performance of his duties, sexual activity with the female suspect — between Nov. 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2011.” But Goodridge emphasized in a phone call that the female, “T.J.,” referred to in the ghost employment charge is not the same female referred to in the original charges, Janessa Edwards-McCracken, and “T.J.” is not a suspect in any criminal activity.
Morgan appeared in person, with Goodridge, for the plea hearing Monday and was advised by Judge Carl Heldt that the judge will review the plea agreement and a pre-sentence report and either accept or reject the plea agreement. Morgan was advised of his rights and acknowledged that he understood and waived his rights.
The former chief deputy withdrew his not-guilty plea to the original charges and voluntarily entered a guilty plea to the ghost employment charge. According to the plea agreement, he may argue treatment as a Class A misdemeanor, and the court is free to impose any sentence allowable by law. If the judge accepts the plea agreement, the other charges will be dismissed.
“The defendant further states that he understands the penalties for each of the crimes set forth in the information or indictment and has had explained to his satisfaction, the maximum and minimum sentence ...,” according to the plea agreement.
If convicted of ghost employment under the plea agreement, Morgan could face six months to three years incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine. If treated as a Class A misdemeanor, incarceration could be 0-12 months with a possible $5,000 fine, according to Indiana Criminal Code. The original Class C felonies each carried a term of two to eight years incarceration and possible fine up to $10,000.
Sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 20.
- Local News
- Washington City Council approves rezoning request Washington will be expanding its housing options after the Washington City Council approved an ordinance to rezone land on Bussard Road. The property, owned by Jason Knepp of J and L Home Center, is just over 10 acres and will be rezoned Residential
- State Haitian organization holds town hall meeting The Haitian Association of Indiana hosted a town hall meeting for local Haitians Sunday, officially meeting the largest Haitian population outside of Indianapolis. Around 50 Haitian residents, along with 30 other local residents, listened to state an
- Today's police report CITY REPORT Monday 2:25 p.m. – A female caller said two juvenile males were picking up and throwing green apples near 310 Ogdon St. The apples were clogging storm drains. The males were then asked to pick up the apples. 8:55 a.m. – An employee of Che
CR 900 East project stays on schedule
Phase 1 of the expansion project on CR 900E (Odon-Cannelburg Road) is due to be completed this week and officials say they expect the bulk of the work to be done on time. "They have a number of small things that need to be finished," said Daviess Cou
- Leg of I-69 project now due to open by end of 2015 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Department of Transportation now plans for the Interstate 69 extension to reach Bloomington by the end of 2015, a year later than originally planned. INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield tells the Evansville Courier & Press
VIDEO: Coming Attractions
The Indiana Theater in downtown Washington is under new owner Brent Barnhart and plans to open this fall after being closed for over three years.
- Ruth Gilmore Ruth Gilmore, 80, of Washington, died at 4:38 p.m. at Prairie Village Nursing Center, with family by her side. Born Nov. 10, 1933, in Knox County, she was the daughter of James Howard and Blanche (Chadd) Weibel. She worked for 10 years as a certified
- Shoe Sensation gives back to Cops and Kids Shoe Sensation has presented Cops and Kids with $468 in donations collected from its customers during a drive to assist Cops and Kids. Cops and Kids works with children in the community to ensure that they have basic necessities and toys. This progr
- Friday's police report CITY REPORT Friday 10:27 p.m. - Jerry Gaither, 1422 Brett Cabel Road, said his mailbox was damaged. 5:14 a.m. - Ladonna Abel, 622 S.W. Sixth St., said a purple Harley-Davidson motorcycle was stolen. A report was made and a tip said they believed a ma
- New school security system going into place in Daviess County From the outside looking in schools in Daviess County don't appear to have done much to upgrade security this fall. There are no new fences, no gates, no guard shacks, but officials say the School Guard system is being put into place and should be re
- More Local News Headlines