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Former Jennings police chief gets 5 year sentence

The American Press, Houston Chronicle,

Jennings, LA

JENNINGS, La. (AP) — A former Jennings police chief has been sentenced to five years at hard labor with credit for time served after taking drugs and money from the police department's evidence room.

The American Press reports 53-year-old Johnny Lassiter was sentenced Monday by court-appointed Judge Ronald Cox.

Cox was appointed to the case after District Judge Steve Gunnell rescued himself.

Lassiter pleaded guilty last November to two counts of malfeasance.

Cox sentenced Lassiter to five years at hard labor with credit for time served, but delayed the sentencing while he continues to undergo treatment in a federal program for veterans dealing with physical, mental and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lassiter has already served about 18 months, including 30 days in a Calcasieu Parish jail, and continues to undergo treatment at a veterans facility in Pineville where he is also employed and undergoes regular drug screenings, Cox said.

He was also ordered to make $4,500 in restitution to the city and pay other court courts.

Lassiter was arrested in January 2013 after a state police audit found $4,500 in cash, 1,800 pills, more than 380 grams of cocaine, several pounds of marijuana and codeine missing from the evidence room.

His actions damaged 80-90 pending drug-related cases, according to Cox.

Lassiter had served as a patrol officer and was police chief for four years before becoming the department's evidence custodian.

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