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05/08/2017

Clerk arrested for theft, drug charges
MARION COUNTY PROBATE JUDGE
Clerk arrested for theft, drug charges
  • Drug activity occured in courthouse bathroom 
Deanna GreenDSCN1194.jpg 
Deanna Green
 
Article contributed by The Journal Record
By KALYN MULLIS
Staff Writer
 
HAMILTON - Deanna Green, 44, Hamilton, was arrested for second-degree theft of property and two counts of prescription drugs without a prescription. The arrest was made at the Marion County Courthouse on Tuesday, April 18, at 12:45 p.m.
 
Green was released from the Marion County Jail in Hamilton on the same day under a bond of $12,500.
 
Green has served as chief clerk for the Marion County Probate Judge’s office since 2013, but was terminated by probate judge Rocky Ridings on the same day as her arrest. 
 
According to Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams, Ridings told the sheriff that he discovered $2,000 was missing from his office on Wednesday, April 5.
 
On April 7, the probate judge asked for the sheriff’s department to investigate his office in light of the missing monies. The sheriff began his investigation on Monday, April 10. 
 
“Through the investigation of Judge Ridings’ office, we discovered there was a drug issue in the courthouse. 
 
“We are pretty sure that the $2,000 that is missing is connected to (Green) buying prescription drugs without a prescription,” Williams said. 
 
Twelve pills were confiscated from Green upon her arrest. According to the sheriff, Green was caught in the act of buying Neurontin in the bathroom of the courthouse, which is what ultimately led to her arrest. 
 
When asked if an informant came forward to aid in the investigation, Williams said, “Yes, we did have some help. We had some good information.” 
 
The sheriff did not disclose the identity of any informants.
 
Green’s second-degree theft of property charge has to do with the missing $2,000 from the probate judge’s office. 
 
When asked how he discovered the missing money, Ridings told the Journal Record, “We discovered the money was missing when we went to balance. We balance the money every day. The money is locked in a safe, until it is time to balance, and when we went to do that, the money ($2,000) was missing.”
 
When asked if it is unusual for the dollar amount to be off by that much, Ridings said, “Yes, very unusual. It does not always balance out to the penny. Sometimes, it will be $3-$4 off, but never this much.”
 
While Green did admit to the charge of buying prescription drugs without a prescription, she has not admitted to the second-degree theft of property charge at this time.
 
“The investigation is ongoing. She has not been convicted of anything,” Ridings said. 
 
The probate judge was hesitant to answer any questions about his former employee. 
 
“Deanna was an employee, but she is also a friend. I would have never suspected this and it has come as quite a shock. If I had suspected, I would have tried to help,” Ridings said. 
 
The probate judge’s sentiments about his former employee seem to be shared among those who worked with Green or know her personally. 
 
The drug Green was arrested for purchasing is Gabapentin, commonly known by the brand name Neurontin. The drug itself is not a controlled substance or an opioid, and is not considered to be addictive.
 
According to americanaddictioncenters.org, Neurontin is most commonly used to treat epilepsy, restless leg syndrome, hot flashes or neuropathic pain. It is not commonly thought of as a drug of abuse and is not on the list of controlled substances in the United States.
 
 Williams told the Journal Record that no other arrests for these charges should be expected, as Green was acting alone. The sheriff also noted that he did not anticipate Green being charged with any other crimes. 
 
“I want the public to know that we take corruption of all kinds seriously. I was pleased that Judge Ridings asked me to help when he discovered a problem,” Williams said.
 
“I also want people to know that I am available to help investigate any corruption that goes on in Marion County,” Williams said.
 
(When a defendant is charged with a crime, the charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)
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