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Ex-officer pleads no contest

Sentencing set for Nov. 10

A former Hanging Rock police officer accused of pocketing traffic fines pleaded no contest to the charges against him Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Ronald Blanton, 28, of 2400 Junior Furnace Powell Road, Franklin Furnace, is charged with tampering with evidence and theft in office.

Blanton, along with another former Hanging Rock police officer, Thomas S. Trent Jr., 22, of Portsmouth, are accused of targeted out-of-town travelers and taking cash for tickets on the roadside, pocketing the money and not turning it in to the Village of Hanging Rock.

A six-month investigation by the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office found that Blanton and Trent were allegedly involved in at least 10 such incidents.

Judge Charles Cooper found Blanton guilty of the charges and scheduled a mitigation hearing and sentencing for Nov. 10.

In other cases:

A Coal Grove man was sentenced for escape after being found guilty in 2009 for a multiple count drug indictment.

Carlton A. Davis, 40, of 302 Washington St., Coal Grove, pleaded guilty to the charge through his attorney Warren Morford.

Cooper sentenced Davis to one year in prison to run consecutively to his October 2009 sentence of four years.

Davis was originally arrested by the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office as a result of a three-month long investigation into drug activity. He was charged with three counts of trafficking in cocaine, two counts of complicity to trafficking cocaine and one count of complicity to aggravated trafficking in drugs.

Timothy Conwell, 38, of 318 North Second St., Middleport, was sentenced to three years in prison for deception to obtain drugs and aggravated trafficking in drugs.