Fmr. Elmore Co. coroner gets jail sentence - - The News for South Mississippi

Fmr. Elmore Co. coroner gets jail sentence

Ellison receives jail sentence in court on Wednesday. Ellison receives jail sentence in court on Wednesday.
Ellison awaits in jury box for his sentencing. Ellison awaits in jury box for his sentencing.
Coroner Tim Ellison and his attorney speak with the judge as he pleads guilty March 9 Coroner Tim Ellison and his attorney speak with the judge as he pleads guilty March 9
Ellison's resignation letter Ellison's resignation letter

Former Elmore County Coroner Tim Ellison learned his fate in a courtroom Wednesday morning, after being convicted on public corruption charges.

Ellison was sentenced to serve four years in prison for an ethics violation, four years for second degree theft and one year for third degree theft. However, Ellison's sentences were partially suspected and he will serve just nine months in jail with another two years of supervised probation.

As part of his guilty plea, Ellison will also have to pay $7,913 in restitution. Because of a felony conviction, he was automatically removed from his public position.

Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin says Ellison won't receive preferential treatment. "We are going to treat him like any other inmate, we will be respectful.  Knowing him, I don't think we will have any problem with him adhering to our rules".       

Franklin admits, paying a debt to society should not be taken lightly. Ellison will be surrounded by 200 plus inmates, convicted on various offenses every day, "It's nothing anyone will sign up for."

The former coroner must report to begin serving his sentence on May 9.

Ellison and a co-defendant, Yancy Mitchell III, entered guilty pleas on March 9 in connection to an 11 count indictment. The indictment accused them of transporting bodies to the Alabama Department of Forensics and grossly overcharging the cities of Millbrook, Tallassee, Wetumpka and the Elmore County Sheriff's Office for services.

[BACKGROUND: Elmore Co. coroner, funeral home director indicted 11/4/13]

Ellison pleaded guilty to three charges including felony 2nd degree theft, misdemeanor third degree theft and a felony ethics violation of for using his public office for personal gain. The other eight charges against him were dropped.

Because of Ellison's guilty pleas on felony counts, federal law automatically removed him from his public office. After his March hearing, Ellison issued as resignation letter to District Attorney Randall Houston, thanking the D.A. and his staff for cooperation over the years.

Mitchell pleaded guilty to just one of the six counts against him, Theft 3rd, in which he filed false paperwork to help Ellison. The other counts were dropped. He was sentenced to 12 months unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $250 in fines.

"I am pleased that this prosecution put an end to the crimes of a corrupt public official who betrayed the public trust and stole taxpayers' money," said Attorney General Strange. "Today, Ellison and his accomplice have been held to account for their wrongdoing.  With the conclusion of this case when Ellison is sentenced, we expect that the stolen funds will be restored to their rightful public entities."

An investigation was launched in 2013 by the Elmore County Commission after the City of Wetumpka raised questions about discrepancies. Other cities started comparing notes and also found issues.

A state investigation by the Alabama Attorney General's office quickly followed and indictments for felony theft and ethics violations were handed down.

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