Pubdate: Tue, 31 Dec 2002
Source: Big Sandy News, The (KY)
Copyright: 2002 The Big Sandy News
Author: Susan Allen, County Bureau
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)


MARTIN - Martin Police Chief Jeff Powell was terminated from his job 
Christmas Eve by Mayor Thomasine Robinson in the wake of a state police 
investigation into Powell's purported destruction of thousands of narcotic 
pills without a court order. Martin City Attorney Stacy Marshall said the 
mayor informed him that Powell had been relieved of his duties and that 
long-time city policeman Jim Slone had been appointed temporary chief. A 
message left for Robinson Monday was not returned. Attorney Clyde Johnson, 
who represented Powell in a Dec. 18 court appearance on the matter, could 
not be reached Monday for comment. Last week, state police confirmed that 
an investigation had begun into Powell's claim that he destroyed 2,867 
pills which were seized as evidence in a drug store burglary.

The pills in question included OxyContin, Lortab, Vicodon, Xanax and 
Perocet. Powell informed Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner two days 
before a destruction order for the evidence was to be signed that he had 
destroyed the evidence. Powell told Turner there had been some 
"miscommunication" and he thought he could dispose of the evidence. On Dec. 
18, Powell appeared before Circuit Judge John David Caudill apparently 
prepared to explain how and why he destroyed the pills without a court order.

At that hearing, Caudill told Powell he would need an attorney because of 
possible criminal ramifications of his actions.

He ordered Powell to appear back in court on Dec. 20, with his attorney and 
be prepared to testify how he destroyed each pill individually. On Dec. 20, 
Caudill said he did not think it would appropriate for Powell to give any 
testimony and said he had very "grave" concerns about the former chief's 
department and "competency." The judge ordered that state police take 
immediate possession of any drug evidence being held by the Martin Police 
Department. At that hearing, Johnson said he gave Turner a statement from 
Powell detailing how he got rid of the pills. Turner declined to release 
the statement or talk about its contents, saying it could become part of an 
official investigation. Johnson stressed that his client had not been 
charged with a crime or indicted and that Martin Mayor Robinson had 
witnessed the destruction of the drug evidence. Powell declined to comment 
on the situation after his Dec. 20 court appearance.
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