Officer’s pre-trial set for Dec. 9

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Former Ironton police officer Beth Rist was arraigned today in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court and then released on a $5,000 own recognizance (OR) bond.

Rist appeared at 8:45 a.m. before Judge D. Scott Bowling along with her attorney, Warren Morford, who pleaded not guilty on her behalf.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr., told Bowling that because Rist was summoned to court and did so, and because she has been a lifelong resident of Lawrence County, he had “no problem with an OR bond.”

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Morford noted Rist was originally summoned to appear Dec. 10 and the arraignment had been moved up without his knowledge. He told The Tribune Tuesday evening he did not know why and had not been given any reason for the arraignment date change.

Morford said he had not asked for the change.

Bowling said the case will be heard by Meigs County Common Pleas Judge Fred Crowe, who often sits by Ohio Supreme Court assignment in other counties on an as-needed basis. A pretrial conference was set for Dec. 9.

Four people attended the arraignment.

Rist was indicted last week on one count of tampering with evidence in connection with a traffic ticket she wrote in August. The maximum penalty for a conviction on that charge is up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines plus 3 years post-release probation.

Rist was fired last month by Mayor Rich Blankenship as a result of an investigation into that traffic ticket. She sought and was granted a grievance hearing last week in an effort to get her job back. She was a 13-year veteran of the police department.