Crawford County Coroner bonds out of jail
According to the GBI, he was arrested Friday for violating his oath of office, after he refused to respond to a call on May 2nd.
In Monday’s hearing, the judge ordered O’Neal to not communicate with the new deputy coroner or the recently terminated deputy coroner, who was fired by O’Neal after he responded to the call on May 2nd. O’Neal is also not allowed to the discuss the May 2nd case or respond to any calls to the coroner’s office.
O’Neal’s attorney argues it isn’t fair what’s happening to her client and that a judge doesn’t have the authority to suspend a coroner from his job.
“If you were to suspend him then Crawford County would have no coroner,” O’Neal’s attorney, Michelle Smith, said.
District attorney David Cooke said his office is gathering evidence and preparing for grand jury to hear the case by the end of the month.
“We have the evidence. The question now is simply complying with the law and doing this on the correct day,” Cooke said.
O’Neal’s attorney, Michelle Smith said she’s working to get him back to the hospital for medical attention. He was taken to the hospital Friday immediately after his arrest after complaining of chest pains.
Judge Tripp Self says Smith’s argument was flawed and didn’t agree with her belief that he didn’t have the authority to suspend O’Neal, citing the statute where she was basing her point, was meant for civil circumstances not criminal charges.
“That is purely meant for the person who is so sick that they won’t give up the spot. They won’t come to work. They don’t do the job, but they can’t give up….they’re in a coma. That’s what that statute is for,” Self said in court.
Although O’Neal won’t be able to go out on calls, he still will get paid as coroner. The DA says if an indictment goes through, the governor will be notified and have to create a group to review O’Neal’s case since he’s an elected official before he can be formally suspended.