Officials, Public React to Kelly Sentence

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With former Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly being sentenced to seven years in prison on Friday, many say they are glad the case is over, but note that no one is a winner with this outcome.

Following the sentencing hearing on Friday, Acting Sheriff Rodney Smith said, “We’re glad it’s over and happy to move forward.”

Athens County Commissioner Charlie Adkins said, “The grand jury indicted Pat. Twelve jurors convicted him. He had the opportunity today to begin the healing of our county and to apologize to the law enforcement community. He chose not to take any responsibility and he showed no remorse. He should have been honest with his supporters and his supporters have been supporting him through the goods and the bads.”

Athens County Democratic Party Chairman Alan Trout didn’t have much to say about the situation other than “the 12 jurors and the judge have spoken.”

Republicans, on the other hand, had plenty to say about the sentencing.

“I’m surprised that he didn’t get more years than what he got. But I think it sent a message,” said Pete Couladis, chairman of the county’s Republican party. He said that Kelly’s statement to the court prior to his sentencing (see related story) showed his arrogance and proved that he had no remorse for his crimes. Couladis said that Kelly has brought embarrassment to the county with the amount of media attention the case has garnered in the Central Ohio area.

“At least he’s going to be put away for a few years,” Couladis said.

Republican Steve Kane, who was defeated by Kelly in the sheriff races in 2008 and 2012, said, “The truth finally came out… I think it’s a fair sentence.”

But Kane said that he’s not happy with the situation.

“It’s not really closure for me… Now I have the legacy of losing to a criminal twice,” he said. “It’s disappointing for me. Athens County voters believed Pat Kelly was the real deal for them. I’m disappointed just like everyone else.”

Kane called Kelly “arrogant” and a “narcissist.” He said he feels bad for Kelly’s family.

“This is a black eye for Athens County. This is a black eye for law enforcement. That’s not who we are,” Kane said.

Kane said he will not run for sheriff again and stated that he supports Smith.

“He’ll be a good sheriff for Athens County,” he said.

Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost issued a statement following the sentencing: “The sentence fits the crimes, and the books of justice balance to the penny,” Auditor Yost said. “Congratulations to Attorney General Mike DeWine and his team — and thanks to Judge Cosgrove for a just sentence.”

“No one gets any pleasure from this,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in a phone conversation on Friday afternoon of prosecuting Kelly and seeing him go to prison. “One of the reasons it is important to prosecute public officials is to serve as a deterrent.”

On Facebook, Kelly supporters expressed their opinions. Susan Kline Spencer wrote, “So sorry for him and his family. He may not be perfect but did not deserve this.”

“It’s a sad day when a good man goes to prison for something he didn’t do. I am so proud of Pat!‬” wrote ‪Jeanie Pidcock Perry‪.

‪Adajane Holdren‪ wrote “I think it is very unfair as I can’t see anything positive about seven years in prison. He certainly isn’t a threat to society and the prison system is already overcrowded. Seems like losing his PERS and being a felon is punishment enough.‬”