MARTINS FERRY - Legal problems continue to mount for jailed former Martins Ferry Police Chief Barry Carpenter, who now has been indicted on three counts of of firearm theft.
The charges are in connection with weapons stolen from the Martins Ferry Police Department while he served as chief. Carpenter is accused of taking two pistols and a sniper rifle.
The new allegations, if proven, could land Carpenter an additional 15 years behind bars. He was sentenced in January 2010 to serve two years and eight months in prison for his role in a theft and evidence tampering scandal with Hollywood connections, but was set to be eligible for early release on June 10.
The latest indictment stems from a 10-month investigation into the police department's operations under Carpenter, after a state audit revealed $9,000 missing from the evidence room.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation's probe into the matter is ongoing, according to officials, and the potential remains for more charges.
In 2009, when Carpenter was chief of the Martins Ferry Police Department, he and former Bridgeport Police Chief Chad Dojack were indicted on criminal charges stemming from an investigation into a break-in at the Martins Ferry home of the surrogate mother of celebrity parents Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.
The former chiefs had been accused of conspiring to cash in on national tabloid interest in the celebrity surrogate. Dojack originally was indicted on felony counts of complicity to commit burglary and complicity to receiving stolen property.
He later entered into a plea agreement with the prosecution, which dropped the felony charges, and Dojack pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of dereliction of duty. He was sentenced to three years probation and ultimately resigned as Bridgeport's police chief.
Carpenter, who was found innocent of an original burglary charge, later moved for a new trial but was denied by the court and decided not to appeal his conviction.
In November, a state audit on the city of Martins Ferry issued findings against the city in connection with the missing money from the police department's evidence room, which kept the scandal in the headlines with additional speculation of wrongdoing surrounding the department's past operations.
In response to these discrepancies stemming from the audit, Carpenter had penned a letter from prison explaining procedures within the police department and maintaining innocence of any wrongdoing as it relates to interdepartmental finances.
Special Prosecutor T. Shawn Hervey, who prosecuted both Carpenter and Dojack in connection with the surrogate scandal, was appointed to investigate the additional charges against Carpenter.