Last updated: June 05. 2014 6:28PM - 916 Views
By Joe P. Asher jasher@civitasmedia.com



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A former Cumberland fire chief received his final sentencing on Thursday in Harlan Circuit Court.


Fess Eldridge, 66, of Cumberland, was formally sentenced after having entered a plea of guilty earlier.


Eldridge originally was scheduled for sentencing on May 15, but Judge Henry Johnson delayed passing final sentence until Eldridge met some requirements of his plea agreement.


According to a previous report, Johnson stated he would postpone sentencing until restitution was made to the city of Cumberland.


Eldridge’s attorney, Laura Karem, told the court during Eldridge’s May 15 appearance that an account under Eldridge’s control at BB&T Bank had been frozen, requiring a check to be written by Eldridge or for the court to issue an order turning the money over to the city.


Karem informed the court Eldridge had paid the required restitution on Tuesday, and all other requirements had been followed.


Johnson followed the state’s recommendation, sentencing Eldridge to three years in prison, granting pretrial diversion for a period of five years.


Eldridge was sentenced on charges of theft by deception, including cold checks under $10,000 and abuse of public trust less then $10,000.


In other court activity:


* Jeffery S. Coker Jr., 25, of Harlan, was granted five years probation through drug court on charges of criminal mischief, two counts of theft by unlawful taking under $500 and possession of burglary tools. Coker is also required to pay restitution;


* Douglas Lamb, 24, of Evarts, was sentenced to 12 months in jail, probated for 12 months, on charges of second-degree criminal mischief, two counts of theft by unlawful taking under $500 and possession of burglary tools. Lamb was additionally ordered to pay restitution of $1,301.69;


* Ricky Bingham, 33, of Baxter, was sentenced on charges of first- and third-degree trafficking a controlled substance to three years in prison. Bingham was granted three years pretrial diversion probation;


* Billy J. Johnson, 44, of Harlan, was sentenced on a charge of second-degree trafficking a controlled substance to three years in prison, pretrial diverted for two years.


* Tara R. Thomas, 36, of Cawood, was sentenced on charges of first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree wanton endangerment, third-degree disorderly conduct and third-degree terroristic threatening to 12 months in jail. Thomas was ordered to serve 30 days with the remainder of the sentence to be probated.


Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 1161 or on Twitter #joe_hde

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