ATLANTA -- In about two weeks, Crawford County will find out if its elected coroner is a step closer to suspension over a grand jury indictment on allegations that he violated his oath of office.
Coroner Allen O’Neal faces charges that he refused to respond to a death call in May and fired a deputy coroner who did so.
Attorney General Sam Olens, Spalding County Coroner John Foster and Stephens County Coroner Chris Stephens will review O’Neal’s case, according to a Monday executive order from Gov. Nathan Deal. The panel will hold a public hearing to determine if the indictment relates to and adversely affects O’Neal’s ability to do the public’s work.
The three must report back to Deal within 14 days of the executive order and may recommend suspension.
The hearing time and place have yet to be announced.
Georgia law requires such investigations whenever certain public officials are indicted.
As a condition of O’Neal’s bond on the violation of oath charges, he already is barred from being involved in or impeding any death investigation.
Crawford County and its coroner have a rocky history. Last year, O’Neal sued the county, saying he needed a county office, car and other equipment to do his job. Earlier this year, a judge tossed the lawsuit, saying there was no proof to support O’Neal’s claims.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Maggie Lee, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.