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Ex-Asheville evidence room manager gets 10 months

The Associated Press, The Daily Reflector,
BYLINE: The Associated Press

Asheville, NC

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A former manager at the Asheville police evidence room has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for taking government property.

William Smith pleaded guilty to the embezzling charge in March 2013.

Smith was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger, who said Smith undermined the criminal justice system in Buncombe County and abused a position of trust.

Smith apologized in court but did not talk with reporters after he was sentenced. Defense attorney Sean Devereux said Smith may be the most remorseful client he has represented.

Smith failed a drug test in 2011 and was temporarily suspended. The police department then conducted an audit of items in the property room and could not find some of the evidence that was supposed to be stored there.

Both the defense and prosecutors said there was only evidence to support that Smith took drugs, mostly Oxycodone.

He took drugs from envelopes in cases that he knew were dismissed or closed, knowing the evidence would be burned. His scheme was discovered when a closed case was reopened because of a formality, prosecutors said.

Devereux said Smith took Oxycodone from the envelopes to treat pain he was having.

"Terrible decision. Terrible judgment," Devereux said. "He knew it was wrong."

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