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Assistant Attorney General Melissa A. Schiffel urges the jury to apply “reason and common sense” in the prosecution’s closing argument when deciding on Pat Kelly's sentence on February 10, 2015. 

Closing arguments heard in Kelly trial, five rebuttal witnesses called to the stand

Jury now tasked with reaching a verdict.

Assistant Attorney General Melissa A. Schiffel urged the jury in the prosecution’s closing argument Tuesday morning to apply “reason and common sense” when determining the sentence for suspended Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly.

“The truth never changes,” she told the jury. “It doesn’t have four different versions.”

She added the defense’s claim county and state officials have a bias against Kelly doesn't make sense.

"The defendant has the most bias because he has the most to lose," she said.

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Kelly's attorney, Scott Wood, made the claim during his closing argument that, although the lack of documentation regarding certain county expenditures is enough to conduct an audit, it is not enough to prove guilt in a criminal case.

"The state needed to prove more than a lack of documentation, and they did not," he said. "All we have is speculation."

He added the state didn't bring in a single witness who had a meal with Kelly, regarding the restaurant expenses in question. He also said the prosecution was relying on the credibility of Kelly's former campaign manager, Clinton Stanley, when discussing the alleged theft of money from Kelly's campaign donors.

"(Stanley is) a man who committed multiple felonies, but gets to walk away because he can say 'Pat Kelly did it,'" Wood told the jury. "(These charges) rest solely on the credibility of Clinton Stanley."

All Kelly ever wanted to be was sheriff, Wood told the jury, and he was well-compensated for the job, which led Wood to rhetorically question the jury why he would risk such a prized position.

"Would he risk his job, his dream, his reputation?" he said. "Would he do that for a few meals?"

"Although he is human and made mistakes, there was no criminal intent in anything he did, and he is not guilty," he said.

Schiffel rebutted that the circumstantial evidence shows a pattern of a lack of mistake from Kelly, which proves criminal intent.

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"What're the chances that when money reached (Kelly's) hands and went missing, it's a mistake?" she told the jury, adding Kelly is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of all 25 charges the state has against him.

Before launching into their closing arguments, the assistant attorney generals called five rebuttal witnesses to the stand to testify regarding a second in-office cashbox Kelly had kept, but didn’t mention until he was on the stand Monday.

Vicki Marshall, who was a fiscal officer with the sheriff’s office for 33 years, told the jury she had no knowledge of the second cash box.

The money kept in the second cash box included funds from undocumented property sales, Assistant Attorney General James C. Roberts said Tuesday.

Marshall testified she was not aware what the contents of the box were.

Kevin Cooper, a special agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation who lead the investigation into Kelly's time in office, was brought to the stand next.

Cooper told the jury that during a warranted search of the sheriff’s office, he and his team looked in “every nook and cranny” of the office.

He testified a second cash box was not found during that search and told the jury Kelly never mentioned the second box during the investigation. Cooper said he only learned about it in court Monday.

Denise Blair, senior audit manager for the Ohio Auditor’s Office, testified she was involved in the audit of the sheriff’s office and also wasn’t made aware of the second cash box.

She told the jury the funds in the second cash box should have been in the office’s audit, and her office should have been informed about the existence of the second box. 

Mike Kaizar, a forensic accountant with the BCI, testified he became involved with Kelly’s case in June 2013 and he did not find any documentation showing the existence of the second cash box.

The state also called upon Shawn Bain, who worked with the •Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for nearly three decades. Bain told the jury he had mostly worked in drug cases and had the responsibility of approving all confidential informants in Franklin County.

He testified it is important to document informants in order to protect the integrity of the cases and added documenting an informant would not increase the likelihood of his or her identity being compromised.

He also told the jury, however, documenting an informant is not required under the Ohio Revised Code.

The afternoon consisted of visiting Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove reading off instructions to the jury on how to properly reach a verdict on each of the 25 charges against Kelly. The jury is now tasked with reaching a verdict in the case and could come to a conclusion as soon as Wednesday.

— Julia Fair and William T. Perkins contributed to this story


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