GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WDKY) – A Scott County grand jury has indicted coroner John Goble along with two other individuals as a part of a months-long investigation into stolen state police property.
Goble is charged with two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of abuse of public trust, one count of possession of a controlled substance (oxycodone), and two counts of official misconduct. The coroner is accused of receiving $40,000 of ammunition along with three rifles and 10 shotguns from Master Trooper Mitch Harris, police said.
Harris is charged with two counts of theft by unlawful taking or disposition and two counts of forgery. The indictment alleges that Master Trooper Harris forged another trooper’s name to cover up missing guns and ammo, then transferred them to Goble and Mike Crawford, a retired KSP lieutenant colonel who was also indicted. Harris has been on unpaid leave since the investigation began in December, police said.
Crawford is charged with two counts of receiving stolen property for allegedly receiving five shotguns and 200 cases of ammunition.
The indictment also says Goble authorized monthly payments to Nathan Morris as a deputy coroner even though Morris did not perform services related to the position. The drug charge stems from Goble possessing 90 oxycodone tablets illegally.
Kentucky State Police told Fox 56 in January Goble had been under investigation since at least the beginning of the year. Goble told Fox 56 at the time that the case was “strictly political.” Most deputy coroners were placed on administrative leave because of the investigation at the time.
Following the indictment on Thursday, Goble’s attorney, Fred Peters, said his client is innocent of all six charges against him.
“He took a polygraph at the state police’s request on these allegations and passed,” he said. “We look forward to our day in court because these are absolutely baseless allegations, and I feel very confident that he will be vindicated.
“He denies each and every one of [the charges]. They are not true,” Peters said. “They are absolutely not true.”
Goble has been Scott County’s coroner since 2002. He originally ran as a Democrat but switched his affiliation to Republican in 2016. He narrowly won his primary in May. His attorney says Goble will continue to do his job as coroner as the legal process moves forward.
When Fox 56’s Garrett Wymer knocked on the door of the coroner’s office during business hours on Thursday, the door was locked, the lights were off and no one answered.
Scott Co. Judge-Executive George Lusby told Fox 56 that he has been in contact with the county attorney to see what if anything he can and should do – likely not much, because Goble is an elected official.
“It’s not like somebody we hired. John is an elected official just as I am, and there’s a whole different set of circumstances there,” Lusby said. “It’s terrible for John and for the public and for everybody involved. These are not things you like to happen.”
All three men indicted on Thursday are due in court July 2.
Kentucky State Police commented on the indictment saying troopers hope the indictment does not give the rest of them a bad image.
“We hope that there isn’t a mistrust. We hope that the public views this as it is, with the unfortunate act, criminal act, of a few individuals,” Sgt. Josh Lawson said.
It is not the first time Harris has been in trouble with his employer, according to reports. A Louisville TV station reported in 2015 that Harris was pulled from patrol in Shelbyville, suspended and reassigned to the supply branch after an investigation into his overtime pay.