Former Mississippi Co., MO sheriff in court for pre-trial hearing

Former Mississippi Co. Sheriff has pre-trial hearing
Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 5:49 PM CDT|Updated: Dec. 7, 2017 at 12:13 PM CST
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Sheriff Cory Hutcheson has been suspended from his duties. (Source: KFVS)
Sheriff Cory Hutcheson has been suspended from his duties. (Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: Missouri State Attorneys)
(Source: Missouri State Attorneys)

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Former Mississippi County Sheriff Cory Hutcheson was in court on Thursday, December 7 for a pre-trial hearing.

The hearing was for charges of first-degree robbery and making a false declaration.

During the hearing, they talked about filing a joint motion for the security settings on Casenet for this case. This will be taken up in March. They also talked about a court reporter and the judge may bring one from his own courtroom out of the county.

Hutcheson is accused of taking a document from his sister-in-law's employer in March 2017.

The judge on that criminal case against Hutcheson recused himself.

Judge David Dolan asked the Missouri Supreme Court to assign a new judge to the case on July 5.

Hutcheson appeared before Judge Mark Stoll at 1 p.m. on Sept. 7 for arraignment where he waived his formal arraignment and state attorneys handed over two small stacks of information discs.

The trial for the robbery is set for April 2, 2018. Approximately 160 jurors will be questioned throughout the process and final pre-trial motions will be heard on March 8, 2018 at 11 a.m.

They are expecting the trial to last five days.

Cory Hutcheson released this statement following his court date on September 7 on his Facebook:

The court has scheduled a jury trial for April 2. It's obviously not as soon as we'd hoped, but I trust in the process and look forward to getting back to work for the people of Mississippi County.

In the spring, I will pick up where we left off and wage a war on drugs the likes of which this state has never seen before. Until then, I'm grateful for the continued public support & appreciate each of you more than you know.

Court documents show Dolan is one of the people Hutcheson is accused of tracking by illegally pinging his cell phone.

In that case, Hutcheson faces seven felony counts of forgery, seven felony counts of tampering with computer data, and one misdemeanor count of misconduct by a notary. Those alleged crimes occurred from July 2014 through October 2014.

Bond revocation request

On Friday, June 23, a judge denied a request to revoke the former Hutcheson's bond. According to court documents, the state failed to prove Hutcheson violated the conditions of his bond. The bond hearing on June 22 was in relation to the criminal charges filed against Hutcheson in April.

During the hearing, the state argued that Hutcheson is a danger to the community and violated the rights of Tory Sanders, who died in the jail in May. The state submitted evidence of two photos showing Hutcheson "in control of the situation" before Sanders died.

Hutcheson's lawyer, Scott Rosenblum, argued that he was not acting as a peace officer, but as an experienced jailer. Rosenblum also said that Hutcheson was not giving officers directions, but rather was offering suggestions.

After the hearing, Hutcheson addressed a group of more than 30 supporters and said, "I appreciate everyone coming and showing your support."

The group gave him a round of applause.

He then made a statement on Facebook:

"I'd like to thank everyone who came out to offer their support at my bond hearing. I'm amazed by the outpouring of support and I appreciate each of you more than you know. The judge took the matter under advisement and will issue a decision before my preliminary hearing on Tuesday at 11 a.m. Thank you, Cory Hutcheson"

Branden Caid is serving as the acting sheriff of Mississippi County as the case against Hutcheson moves forward. Caid previously served as the chief deputy of the department.

Preliminary Hearing

Hutcheson pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges against him during a preliminary hearing on April 20. He was in the courtroom with his lawyer. Hutcheson was quiet and polite to the judge, according to KFVS multimedia journalist Sherae Honeycutt who sat in on the arraignment.

He is accused of illegally pinging the cell phones of several members of law enforcement and a judge in one case. In the other, Hutcheson is accused of robbing a woman.

His attorney, Scott Rosenblum of Clayton, Missouri, drafted the following statement on April 11 on Hutcheson's behalf:

Sheriff Cory Hutcheson sincerely thanks everyone for the tremendous support he has received from the community. We are confident once the facts come out, the prosecution of Sheriff Hutcheson will be shown to be misguided and politically motivated.

Sheriff Hutcheson will enter a plea of not guilty, and he looks forward to addressing these charges in court. The sheriff is looking forward to continuing his work and dedicating himself to the citizens of Mississippi County.

Timeline of Events

April 5, 2017: Hutcheson was arrested following investigations by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the FBI. He was booked into and released from the Cape Girardeau County Jail the same day.

April 6, 2017: we learned Missouri DPS Director Drew Juden signed an order to suspend Hutcheson's peace officer license.

April 20, 2017: Hutcheson waived formal arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

May 5, 2017: A man who was being held in the Mississippi County Jail, Tory Sanders, died.

May 9, 2017: Attorney General Josh Hawley filed an emergency motion to strip Hutcheson of his duties as Mississippi County Sheriff.

May 10, 2017: Hutcheson was suspended of his duties and ordered to turn in his service weapon. He can no longer conduct any law enforcement business.

May 16, 2017: Attorney General Josh Hawley asked the Circuit Court of Mississippi County, Missouri to revoke Cory Hutcheson's bond in the pending criminal case against him.

The Criminal Cases Against Hutcheson

According to Attorney General Josh Hawley, in the first complaint, Hutcheson is charged with seven counts of forgery, seven counts of tampering with computer data, and one count of notary misconduct. The alleged crimes happened in 2014 when Hutcheson was a deputy.

Hawley said Hutcheson is accused of using his position to illegally ping the cell phones of several members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, former Mississippi County Sheriff Keith Moore, and Circuit Judge David Dolan.

In the second complaint, Hutcheson was initially charged with second-degree assault, first-degree robbery, and false declaration. Those charges stem from an incident that happened in March 2017. The assault and false declaration charges were dropped on June 27.

Hutcheson is accused of handcuffing a 77-year-old woman with enough force that she had a heart attack. Hawley said that the victim was in the hospital for three days.

Investigators said Hutcheson arrested the woman because she was in a civil dispute with one of his family members.

He reportedly went to a business in East Prairie, while in uniform, to get his sister-in-law's paycheck.

The victim said that Hutcheson's sister-in-law had taken something from the business and the owner said she would not get her final paycheck until the property was returned.

Court documents show he is charged with robbery for allegedly forcibly stealing a paycheck from the victim who is an employee of the business.

She told investigators that Hutcheson told her he would arrest her for assaulting his sister-in-law if the paycheck wasn't handed over.

According to the probable cause statement, after the victim refused, Hutcheson grabbed the woman's arm and put on a handcuff and pulled on it until the cuff broke the skin and the woman started to bleed. He then reportedly grabbed her other arm so hard she was bruised. After grabbing the check from the victim, he reportedly uncuffed her and left.

The victim told police that about 15 minutes after Hutcheson left the business, she started experiencing chest pain. Doctors at a Sikeston hospital determined the victim was having a heart attack and she was taken to a Cape Girardeau hospital by ambulance. She was treated for a heart attack and spent three days in the hospital.

Investigators said Hutcheson went to a bank in town and deposited the check in his sister-in-law's account.

Later that day, he filed a probable cause statement claiming the woman kidnapped and assaulted his sister-in-law. Hutcheson wrote that she was "held against her will by two elderly females when she went to pick up her final paycheck from them."

Hutcheson was housed in the Cape Girardeau County jail for several hours after his arrest. He posted bond the same day. A judge set bond in the forgery case at $25,000 cash only. Bond in the assault case was set at $50,000 cash or surety. Court documents show a cashiers check of $25,000 was posted.

Mississippi County Sheriff's Department Captain Barry Morgan released a statement on Thursday, April 6:

"Sheriff Cory Hutcheson does not have a comment at this time other than the allegations are untrue, and that it will be resolved in court. Today is business as usual, and he cares about his citizens. Deputies will respond to every single call as he promised since the first of the year. This will not slow us down whatsoever."

That same day, KFVS12 received a copy of an emergency order, issued by Missouri Director of Public Safety Drew Juden, saying that Hutcheson's peace officer license had been suspended. The order said the charges against him presented a "clear and present danger to the public health or safety" if he remained commissioned as a peace officer.

Many people in the community we talked to in the days after his arrest said that they believe Hutcheson has done a lot for Mississippi County. Others said he may have done too much to try and get drugs off the street.

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