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Guilty! Next stop prison.

Former Kentucky officer pleads guilty in connection to drug thefts from evidence room

January 20th, 2024

A former Somerset police officer has pleaded guilty in connection with stealing drugs from the evidence room at the police department. Michael Correll, 45, pleaded guilty Jan. 18 to 11 charges of third-degree burglary; four charges of tapering with physical evidence; two charges of theft of controlled substances; two counts of receiving stolen property; and charges of possession of methamphetamine, illegal access to a computer and unauthorized access to a computer, according to court records. Correll was an officer with the Somerset Police Department from 2003 through October 2022.

The charges alleged that Correll did unauthorized computer searches to identify criminal cases with drugs held in evidence, and then, after leaving his job with the department, used electronic entry cards and keys he had kept to get into the building and the evidence room and take items, including drugs.

Correll should have returned the key cards and keys but didn't, Commonwealth's Attorney David L. Dalton said in one court document. The police department became aware of suspicious activity involving Correll in January 2023 and asked Kentucky State Police to investigate, police Chief William Hunt told the Herald-Leader. An audit completed later turned up many more instances in which Correll allegedly tampered with evidence, Dalton said in one court document. According to the document, the audit showed more than 8,500 pills were missing from evidence.

Dalton will recommend a sentence of 10 years in prison for Correll, according to his plea agreement. The document said Correll would be eligible to be placed on probation, however. His attorneys, Jeremy and Kerri Bartley, will argue for a probated sentence while Dalton will oppose that. Pulaski Circuit Judge Teresa Whitaker will decide on a sentence for Correll. She scheduled sentencing for Feb. 29.
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