Former sheriff found not guilty of all counts
Former Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer was found not guilty on all counts after a jury spent more than three hours in deliberation.
Gayer was charged with seven counts that included two counts of theft, three counts of official misconduct, obstruction of justice and deception after a grand jury indictment was ordered on Aug. 9, 2016.
Gayer and his attorney, Bryan Cook, of Indianapolis, have adamantly declared Gayer’s innocence since the beginning of the indictment. Cook had filed for a motion to dismiss the case that was denied and for an interlocutory appeal hearing which was also denied. The case was then presented to a jury trial that was held for three days, starting May 6.
The charges came after a 12-month investigation by Indiana State Police of Gayer and former Pulaski County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ronnie “Ron” Patrick. According to the indictment, Gayer allegedly “knowingly or intentionally exerted unauthorized control” over property that belonged to Pulaski County such as four guns. Because he allegedly committed the theft, the counts of official misconduct were applicable.
Cook, in his opening statement, said Gayer did not use the office for his personal benefit and he may have made mistakes but he did not commit crimes. Cook also reminded the jury that there was nothing that said Gayer could not give away retirement guns and he called Patrick a “rouge deputy” who used his connection with Gayer to get what he wanted. He cross examined each of the state witnesses but didn’t call any witness for the defense.
In his closing, Cook said the case is about the “railroading of a guy who served his community, the state and his county for 35 years. He deserves better than this.” Cook said the evidence does not show criminal intent but that mistakes can be made. He said, “They have the right guy, Patrick, but they let him off — mostly. Mike Gayer did not get a fair trial. You can make that right by finding him not guilty.”
After the jury found Gayer not guilty of all counts, emotions flowed. Gayer said on May 9 that the whole case has been trying for him and his family. At times, the emotions were tremendous, according to him.
Gayer said the support from friends is what has kept him and his family going over the past five years.