The former police chief of Shawnee Hills entered an Alford plea to one charge of theft in office and was found guilty by a judge Tuesday morning in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
Sean LeFever, 43 of Dublin, was in court Tuesday morning where he was originally scheduled to stand trial for four counts of theft in office, fifth-degree felonies. However, court documents indicated Monday that LeFever and his attorneys had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Judge David Gormley clarified that an Alford plea means that LeFever is maintaining his innocence but believes the prosecutor’s evidence is strong enough to convince a jury that he is guilty. LeFever said he entered the plea to one charge so he can avoid being sentenced on four theft-in-office charges.
Assistant Delaware County Prosecutor Andrew Bigler told Gormley that, as part of a plea agreement, LeFever would enter an Alford plea to one of the theft-in-office charges and the others would be dismissed.
Bigler added that prosecutors would recommend three years of probation and ask that LeFever pay restitution to the village of Shawnee Hills. Bigler said after restitution is paid, the probation sentence would be dismissed, according to the plea agreement. Prosecutors said the restitution amount will be calculated at the sentencing hearing.
Gormley has ordered a pre-sentence report and scheduled a sentencing for Sept. 2 at 9:30 a.m.
Bigler said that on one occasion, while LeFever was serving as the police chief in Shawnee Hills, he was contracted by Columbia Gas to direct traffic at an intersection while crews worked. According to Bigler, LeFever was still compensated by the village for time worked on that occasion.
Bigler added that on a separate occasion, LeFever filed paperwork saying he was at a training seminar and he was compensated for the training by the village. However, Bigler said he did not actually attend any training.
LeFever appeared perturbed when Gormley informed him that, as a felon, he would not be able to vote or legally own a firearm.
LeFever was placed on administrative leave by the village in August after the investigation began and tendered his resignation on Jan. 16.
Officer Russell Baron has since been promoted to the position of police chief.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.