Chief gets nearly 3 years in Parker-Broderick case

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (AP) - December 30, 2009

Barry Carpenter was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. He was convicted last month on charges of receiving stolen property, theft in office and evidence tampering but acquitted of other counts, including burglary.

His attorney, Dennis McNamara, vowed to appeal.

Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Solovan called prison time a "must" in the case, and Carpenter was immediately taken into custody after the hearing. A special prosecutor had said Carpenter could have received up to six years in prison.

The judge noted that he had received letters in support of Carpenter from members of the former chief's family, friends and police officers.

Carpenter resigned two weeks ago as chief in Martins Ferry, where the celebrity couple's surrogate lived. Prosecutors said he broke into Michelle Ross' home in May, took items related to her pregnancy and the surrogacy and conspired with police Chief Chad Dojack of neighboring Bridgeport to sell the items to celebrity photographers.

Dojack is scheduled to go on trial in January on two counts of complicity to burglary and one count of complicity to receiving stolen property.

Carpenter testified that he saw a door to the home open and went in to check it out. He said he photographed a surrogacy file that contained two ultrasound pictures and a plaster cast of a pregnant stomach, but did not remove anything from the house.

Ross said during the trial that she was staying in a West Virginia hotel at the time and later returned home to find that ultrasound photos, surrogacy files and tax information were gone. She also testified that someone had apparently rummaged through some photos and that the plaster cast, made when she was pregnant with her own son, was misplaced.

Ross gave birth to the twin girls June 22 at an Ohio hospital.

Messages seeking comment on the sentence weren't immediately returned by Carpenter's attorney, Special Prosecutor T. Shawn Hervey, and Parker-Broderick spokesman Simon Halls. There was no answer at the number for a lawyer for Dojack.

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