COSHOCTON - A candidate for Coshocton County Common Pleas Court judge was arraigned Friday in that court on criminal charges.
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William Todd Drone, 51, of Coshocton was indicted April 15 on two counts of robbery, a second-degree felony, tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and two counts of theft in office, fifth-degree felonies, in the May incident. 24, 2021. He said it was related to the removal of junk tires from a nuisance property in the village of Conesville, where he serves as solicitor.
Coshocton judge candidate pleads not guilty to criminal charges
Drown entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. He is being represented in the matter by Columbus attorney Samuel Shamansky. Retired Franklin County Judge Daniel T. Hogan is assigned the case. Clifford Murphy of Licking County has been appointed special prosecutor.
The hearing was held by Zoom at Shamansky's request. A telephone conference to discuss the issues between Hogan and the two attorneys will be scheduled in about 30 days. The personal identification bond was continued.
Drown is running for the Republican nomination for Common Pleas Court judge against incumbent Robert Batchelor. He first won the bench in 2010 over Drown, who ran as a Democrat.
Drown has called the case against him bogus and a cheap ploy by his political enemies. He has urged the Ohio Attorney General's Office to open a political corruption investigation against Batchelor and Coshocton County Prosecutor Jason Given. Both have recused themselves from the case, though Drown has accused them of framing them.
He has also asked the Ohio Secretary of State's office to assign neutral observers to monitor Tuesday's primary. He believes the Republican members of the Coshocton County Board of Elections will not administer the process fairly. The Coshocton County Republican Party, which supports Bachelor, has sponsored a website calling Drown a failed businessman, politician and lawyer.
The Secretary of State's office said it had sent Dron a copy of the election officials' manual and pointed to a provision detailing the process for obtaining its own inspectors.
The Conesville Council released an official statement this past week saying it fully supports Drown and believes he has acted appropriately in accordance with the village laws and duties assigned to him by the council.
Drown sent another letter to the Ohio attorney general's office Friday disputing the Conesville council's statement and continuing to question elements surrounding the case regarding the special prosecutor and grand jury process.
Leonard Hayhurst is the community content coordinator and general news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune, with nearly 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press.