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Bollinger case headed to grand jury

The case of a June shooting involving a Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy should go to the grand jury next month, Prosecutor J.B. Collier said.

Deputy Aaron Bollinger has been on administrative leave since June when Johnny Stapleton, 28, of Ashland, Ky. was shot during a traffic stop in the vicinity of North Eighth and Lawrence streets in Ironton.

Collier’s office recently received a report about the incident from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. An investigator with the prosecutor’s office is reviewing the report. Collier will review it this week and make a determination as to who should present the case to the grand jury — Collier or a special prosecutor.

“Aaron, although a detective with the sheriff’s office, he also works for me on the drug task force,” Collier said. Collier said in seeking the assistance of a special prosecutor he would be trying to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

“I’m not suggesting that there was any criminal misconduct but I want the public to be confident that it’s not being whitewashed,” Collier said.

Collier will make the decision this week about whether or not to use a special prosecutor. He went on to say that Bollinger is an asset to the drug task force and that it is a shame that the incident occurred.

“I say that prematurely because I have not looked at the report,” Collier said.

Whether or not and when Bollinger goes back to work at the sheriff’s office will be dependent on the findings of the grand jury, Sheriff Jeff Lawless said.

He added that if the grand jury does not indict Bollinger, he will come back to work.

The grand jury will meet during the first part of September, Collier said.