Houston County District Attorney Jason Ashford said he will request a special prosecutor to handle the case of an arrested Houston sheriff’s deputy.
The deputy, Sgt. Wayne Mitchell, is accused of giving money to a man wanted on a probation violation to help him leave the state. Ashford said he will make the request to the state Attorney General’s Office within the next several days. That office will appoint a prosecutor, he said.
Mitchell was arrested March 30 by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on felony charges of violation of oath by a public officer and hindering apprehension or punishment of criminals.
Ashford said his office requests a special prosecutor “in any case where there could be an appearance of any kind of favoritism.”
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“Wayne Mitchell has been the lead officer in a number of cases this office has handled,” he said.
A 10-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, Mitchell was part of the department’s Interstate Criminal Enforcement unit.
Ashford said the GBI turned over its case to his office last week. His office reviewed it for a few days, and then made the determination to request a special prosecutor, he said.
Mitchell, who is out on bond, has resigned, said Houston Sheriff Cullen Talton.
Mitchell is accused of warning a man about a warrant issued for his arrest and wiring him $30 to help him leave the state, said Craig Rotter, assistant special agent in charge of the Perry GBI office. Additional money may have been exchanged hand-to-hand, but the total amount was not known, he said.
The two men were acquaintances, and their friendship appeared to be the motive, Rotter said. If convicted, Mitchell faces one to five years in jail, as well as the loss of his state police certification.
Information from The Telegraph archives was used in this report.
To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 256-9705.