Barry Carpenter indicted on new charges

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Former Martins Ferry Police Chief Barry Carpenter will not be getting out of prison early.

Rather than asking Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Solovon for an early release, Carpenter today pleaded not guilty to three theft charges stemming from a new indictment alleging he stole two pistols and a rifle while serving as Martins Ferrys police chief. Carpenter, clad in a prison orange jumpsuit, appeared in court this morning, the first time since his sentencing last year.

Defense attorney Michelle Miller withdrew Carpenter’s release motion during todays arraignment on the new charges.

Solovon set a trial date of Aug. 2, with a pre-trial conference on July 1 and a plea agreement deadline of July 22.

If found guilty of the gun charges, Carpenter could face an additional 15 years behind bars.

In January of 2010, Solovon sentenced Carpenter to two years and eight months in prison after a Belmont County jury found him guilty for his role in a theft and evidence tampering scandal involving a break-in at the Martins Ferry home of the surrogate mother of celebrity parents Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. He became eligible for early release today.

Special Prosecutor T. Shawn Hervey said the gun charges stem from a months-long investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation into the police department’s operations under Carpenter, after a state audit revealed $9,000 missing from the evidence room.

Hervey said the investigation did not produce probable cause for charges relevant to the missing money but the potential remains for more charges.

The 2009 indictment alleged Carpenter and Bridgeport Police Chief Chad Dojack conspired to cash in on a national tabloid interested in the celebrity surrogate.