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Ex-Trenton police officer charged with stealing drugs

Chattanooga Times Free Press,
BYLINE: Tyler Jett

Trenton, GA

Police say Officer Shawn Chapa is accused of taking drugs from the city's police evidence room.

Investigators say Trenton, Ga., police officer Shawn Dewey Chapa sneaked into the evidence room and walked away with hydrocodone, oxycodone and other pills.

Chapa, who resigned from the police department in January, was indicted by a Dade County grand jury Thursday morning on one charge of violation of oath by a police officer and four counts of theft.

Because he allegedly stole the drugs while serving as a police officer, Chapa could face up to 15 years in prison.

Chapa's attorney, Public Defender David Dunn, declined to comment Thursday afternoon.

Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin is not prosecuting Chapa's case. Leigh Patterson, the prosecutor from the Rome Judicial Circuit, presented evidence to the grand jury Thursday.

Patterson said the Georgia Attorney General's Office appointed her as the prosecutor on the case. Often, district attorneys in a circuit -- such as Franklin -- withdraw from a case when they feel they have a conflict of interest.

In this case, such a conflict could come up since Chapa was a police officer within Franklin's district. Franklin and Chapa may have worked together during criminal trials before Chapa's arrest.

Franklin was out of his office late Thursday and did not return an email seeking comment.

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