Pike County Sheriff Enters NOT Guilty Plea

May 21, 2014

Pike County Courthouse
Credit Pike County

The Pike County sheriff has pleaded not guilty to a felony misconduct charge after prosecutors say he botched the 2012 death investigation of a woman who overdosed on heroin.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty's attorney filed a motion Monday to dismiss the case or appoint a special state's attorney.

Petty also is the county's coroner. He was charged last week after authorities said he didn't follow procedures for embalming the body of 47-year-old Shanda Lopez of Milton. The case stems from allegations that Petty didn't draw blood for a toxicology screening before Lopez's body was embalmed.  

Petty says he remains the county's coroner and sheriff, a position he has held since 1998.  

Petty's lawyer, Richard Frazier, says the case was handled appropriately.