Each week The River City News talks with Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders about his weekly e-newsletter that highlights who was sent to prison or got probation in the previous week. At the bottom of this post you can find a link to that newsletter. Here are this week's questions and answers:
RCN: Christopher Clayborne was arrested by Covington Police on two counts of trafficking heroin (and being a persistent) felony offender. He faces seven years in prison at sentencing. What's the story?
SANDERS: Clayborne was wanted as part of the annual Covington Police "round-up" of people who have sold drugs to a confidential informant working with their undercover unit. The round-up is done so police don't "burn" their informants right away. Once we start prosecuting a case, we're required to give defendants all of our evidence in a process known as "discovery." Essentially, the prosecution is not allowed to surprise the defendant with anything but, with some exceptions, the defense isn't required to tell us what their defense is before trial. One of those things we turn over to the defendant is a recording of when they sold drugs to the informant. Usually, a defendant can figure out who the informant is by the video so, even if we haven't disclosed the informant's name yet, the defendant still knows who was working for the police. It's a security risk obviously, so we wait until police are done with an informant before going forward in court. This allows the informant to lay low for a while to minimize any threat of retaliation.
Clayborne was convicted of two counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance 1st Degree for selling $140 worth of heroin to the informant on December 15, 2011 and $70 worth of heroin on December 21, 2011. Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Casey Burns, who prosecutes nothing but drug trafficking cases, is recommending a 7 year prison sentence in this case, which will run consecutive to a 10 year sentence Clayborne will receive in another case. The other case arose when Clayborne was arrested on the warrant from the round-up. In that instance, Covington Police Officer Jim Miskanin responded to a 911 call about a person dealing drugs on Lewis Street. Miskanin found Clayborne on the porch and located heroin, syringes, $445, and a Glock23 handgun in Clayborne's possession. Clayborne is a convicted felon out of Ohio where he did 4 years for Assault.
RCN: Joseph Carroll faces fifteen years in prison after being arrested by Covington Police on charges of second degree burglary and being a persistent felony offender. What did he do?
SANDERS: On October 12, 2011 a resident of Edgecliff Apartments called Covington Police and reported the theft of her purse. Officers responded and discovered the purse was actually stolen out of the resident's apartment. The resident stated a man knocked on her door and identified himself as a maintenance man from the apartment complex. The man told her there was a water leak in her bathroom that was flooding the apartment below so the resident let him in. After pretending to inspect the shower, the man turned around suddenly and maced the resident, then grabbed her purse and ran out. Security cameras outside the apartment building captured the man running away with the purse. The case was assigned to Detective Brian Kane who put the surveillance photos on television through the media. Crimestoppers received numerous calls naming several different people as the suspect. Multiple calls identified the suspect as Joseph Carroll. Kane prepared photo line ups with Carroll and other suspects from Crimestoppers tips. The victim identified Carroll as the man who stole her purse. Kane located Carroll and brought him in for questioning where Carroll eventually confessed to the crime. Carroll has a prior conviction for Robbery 2nd Degree out of another county. He'll now be doing 15 years in prison for Burglary 2nd Degree and PFO 2nd Degree.
RCN: Thomas Bronson was busted by Covington Police for theft of identity and will spend the next year and a half in prison. What are the details on Bronson's crime?
SANDERS: BP gas station employees called Covington Police and complained about people panhandling on their property. Officer Ryan Malone responded and located Bronson and two other people who employees identified as the panhandlers. Malone asked them all for identification. The two people with Bronson gave the officer their IDs. Bronson claimed he didn't have an ID so Malone asked for his name, date of birth, and SSN. Malone warned Bronson that giving false information is a crime, and potentially a felony if he is avoiding an arrest warrant. When Malone ran the SSN, it didn't come back to anyone but the name and date of birth provided by Bronson did. Unfortunately for Bronson, that person also had a warrant for their arrest. Malone had pulled up a photo of the wanted person and knew it wasn't Bronson but he went ahead and arrested Bronson, telling him he had a warrant. Bronson quickly confessed to the officer that the information provided was false in hopes of avoiding arrest but, low and behold, Bronson was wanted out of Boone County for Burglary and PFO 1st. So in addition to whatever he gets in Boone County, Bronson will do another year and a half for trying to use some one else's identification to avoid arrest. The moral of the story is "Don't steal someone else's identifying information" but if you're going to, you obviously should pick someone who isn't wanted.
See the full list and mugshots of those who were convicted of felonies in Kenton County Circuit Court in addition to a full explanation of the Cline case at the link: This Week in Kenton Co. Circuit Court
Photo: Christopher Clayborne/Kenton Co. Detention Center