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Possible plea deal pending in deputy case?

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:48 PM

Erie County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ann Barylski said she has discussed a possible plea agreement with defense attorney Gregory Shell in the criminal case against former Huron County Sheriff's Detective Matthew S. Spencer.

"We've talked a little bit about it, but I'd rather not get into it because I believe there are some major discovery issues to be resolved," she said, declining to elaborate.

Shell declined to comment. Prosecutors have accused his client, Spencer, 33, of 420 High St., Willard, of stealing between $10,000 and $15,000 from the sheriff's office evidence room which the former detective oversaw. He also reportedly made a false insurance claim about the theft of two firearms, a Fraternal Order of Police emblem, some golf clubs and seven personal checks from his personal vehicle.

Spencer was charged with three counts of tampering with evidence, two charges of tampering with records and one count each of theft in office, insurance fraud and falsification. The indictment alleges the incidents occurred from July 2004 through the end of July 2006.

He became a deputy in March 2000. Spencer was the Greenwich police chief for about a month in May 2003 and resigned for personal reasons before rejoining the sheriff's office. Sheriff Richard Sutherland fired Spencer in August after putting him on paid administrative leave for about two weeks when the investigation of alleged wrongdoing began.

The Erie County Prosecutor's office is representing the state to avoid a conflict of interest for Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler's office. Visiting Common Pleas Judge Judith Cross is presiding over the case.

"Oct. 15 is the goal as far as the trial goes," Barylski said.

Spencer's trial originally was set for July 24. The court scheduled an Aug. 27 pretrial hearing.

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