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Prosecutor will not seek charges

Former Ironton police officer Lon Hilton will not face criminal charges for allegedly threatening the lives of city councilman Bob Vaughn and council candidate James Ridgeway.

Thursday, October 04, 2001

Former Ironton police officer Lon Hilton will not face criminal charges for allegedly threatening the lives of city councilman Bob Vaughn and council candidate James Ridgeway.

County Prosecuting Attorney J.B. Collier Jr., said he has decided to not prosecute Hilton who resigned from the police department last Friday. Collier said he wasn’t seeking criminal charges because during the investigation he offered his resignation. Collier said Hilton paid "one heck of a price" by giving up his job and seeking criminal charges would be "overkill."

Collier said he personally handled the case because it involved a police officer and a city councilman. Collier said he reviewed the statements of Bob Vaughn, James Ridgeway and some other witnesses and also interviewed Ironton detective Capt. Chris Bowman and Chief Bill Garland.

During his investigation, Collier said, he reviewed Hilton’s personnel file for any written reprimands from his superiors and Hilton had an "unblemished record," Collier said. Hilton has been a police officer for 15 years, three years as a deputy sheriff and 12 years with the Ironton Police Department.

In fact, Collier added, Hilton had received seven letters of commendation during his tenure as a police officer. The most recent, Collier said, was for a hostage situation that the ex-cop was able to talk down and make an arrest and get a conviction.