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Trial date set for two Upshur County officials

By Christina Lane
Jan. 5, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.

A trial date was set today on one charge for two indicted Upshur County elected officials.

Sheriff Anthony Betterton and Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree will go to jury trial at 9 a.m. Feb. 6 in Upshur County's 115th District Court, according to the county's judicial website. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 30.

The two officials will go to trial on their charges of gift to a public servant by a person in his jurisdiction.

The charges were filed in June against the men, claiming that on Dec. 31 the two officials accepted free legal representation from attorney Robert Davis.

Davis was representing Crabtree for charges of official oppression and abuse of official capacity and Betterton for an official oppression charge. The charges on the two officials stemmed from a commissioners court meeting in the fall of 2010 in which a county resident was removed from the meeting after he wore duct tape over his mouth to protest that public comment had been removed from meeting agendas. County Judge Dean Fowler was indicted on similar charges. A visiting judge cleared Fowler of the charges in October.

Davis resigned from being Crabtree and Betterton's attorney following their gift to a public servant charge. Joseph Murphy now represents the two men.

Visiting Judge Diane DeVasto has been assigned to hear the case since District Judge Lauren Parish recused herself. Rick Hagan will fill in on the prosecution since District Attorney Billy Byrd recused himself after the official oppression and abuse of official capacity charges.



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