Pike County sheriff charged with official misconduct

Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty facing official misconduct charge in his role as coroner.

On Friday, the Pike County State's Attorney Carrie Boyd filed a charge of official misconduct against Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty.

KHQA spoke to Boyd on Saturday.

She says that the charge is related to the drug induced homicide of 47-year-old Shanda M. Lopez in 2012.

John R. Edgar, 24, of Pearl, Illinois was charged on Oct. 31, 2012 with drug-induced homicide in connection with Lopez's death.

She was pronounced dead at her home Sept. 26, 2012.

Investigators said that Lopez died as a result of opiate intoxication, or a heroin overdose.

It is believed that Edgar took heroin to her in the late evening hours the night before she died.

Petty who is also the coroner in Pike County, is accused of failing to tell the mortuary and other involved parties not to embalm the woman's body before toxicology samples were taken.

Boyd says that it is the coroner's job to prevent that from happening.

KHQA also spoke to Sheriff Petty on Saturday afternoon regarding the charge against him.

He says the initial call was handled by a deputy coroner.

"Several hours later I was contacted and became involved in the case," Petty said. "And upon doing such I asked and ordered an autopsy. An autopsy was performed. Toxicology was received at that time to lead to charges involving drug induced homicide. So an autopsy was performed. Obviously that's within my duties as well. So again, I'm not sure exactly to what degree these charges are coming."

Boyd has referred the prosecution of the case to an outside agency.

If convicted, Sheriff Petty could face two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.