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Judge issues not guilty verdict in oppression case against Upshur County official

By Christina Lane clane@news-journal.com
Oct. 12, 2011 at 7:14 a.m.


QUITMAN - A judge on Wednesday issued a not guilty verdict, discharging Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler of an official oppression charge.

Judge Richard Davis also quashed an indictment of abuse of official capacity against Fowler. Davis issued his verdict after the prosecution rested, citing that prosecuting attorneys had failed to prove that Fowler was involved in Jimmy Caughron being removed from a commissioners court meeting.

Caughron was removed by a bailiff from a Nov. 30, 2010, meeting after repeatedly wearing duct tape on his mouth to protest that public comment had not been allowed. Sheriff Anthony Betterton and Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree still face charges.

"My family and I are relieved," Fowler said. "We appreciate the judge's decision. I would like to thank all of my supporters and the people who have been concerned about me in Upshur County."

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