Former sheriff’s associates cop plea deals

Former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford and his former reserve Capt. Guy Penland are now alone facing federal corruption charges, after former Lt. Ronnie “Butch” Davis and Weaverville businessman Jackie Shepherd, a longtime Medford ally, both accepted plea deals from federal prosecutors on March 7.

The two are the latest in a string of plea deals involving corruption surrounding alleged illegal gambling and video-poker operations in WNC. The past weeks have seen the other former deputy charged alongside Medford, John “Johnny” Harrison, two of Shepherd’s employees and Hot Dog King owner Demetre Theodossis all take plea deals—forfeiting property and agreeing to testify.

Davis’ deal is as yet unwritten, but in court documents accepting the plea, it notes that he pleaded guilty to extortion under color of law, mail fraud, lying to the court, transferring money illegally, criminal conspiracy, running an illegal gambling business and operating a scheme to distribute video-poker registration stickers illegally, while Davis ran the program for the sheriff’s office.

Several of the 11 counts can carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Shepherd, meanwhile, got charges against his son and stepson dropped as part of his deal, as he pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling business through his company, Western Amusements Inc. The company operated 41 machines in 10 locations in Buncombe and Madison counties, taking in more than $2,000 a day, according to court documents.

He also agreed to forfeit $33,053 seized in a June raid on his business, 25 video poker machines, two personal vehicles, $651,801 in proceeds from his operation, as well as two pieces of property in Weaverville and Billy Jack’s Flea Market in Madison.

Barring more plea deals, Medford and Penland go to trial March 25

Visit www.mountainx.com/xpressfiles for documents about the case, including the Davis and Shepherd plea deals.

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