Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 14, 2013

Ex-APD officer pleads guilty

ASHLAND — A former Ashland Police Department officer will spend at least the next five years in a federal prison on drug-related charges.

As anticipated, Melvin Charles “JR” Schoch Jr., 32, pleaded Monday in U.S. District Court. Schoch’s attorney, David Mussetter, filed a motion last week for his client to be re-arraigned for the purpose of changing his plea.

Schoch pleaded guilty to two counts of a superseding indictment returned in January — attempting to possess oxycodone with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm during the commission of a drug crime. Two other counts were dismissed under the terms of Schoch’s plea agreement.

The firearms charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, Judge David L. Bunning said. The attempted possession charge carries maximum term of 20 years. However, Bunning said federal sentencing guidelines would likely place Schoch’s term for that offense in the range of either 10 to 16 months or 12 to 18 months. There is no parole in the federal system.

Schoch and his co-defendant, Ellis Pittman, 34, had been scheduled to stand trial on May 28. Assuming he does not also plead guily before then, Pittman will still be tried on that date.

Details regarding the government’s case against Schoch emerged at Monday’s proceeding. The charges stem from a home-invasion burglary that occurred in Boyd County in either May or June of 2009, according to Schoch’s plea agreement.

In pleading guilty, Schoch admitted he, Pittman and another defendant identified in court records only as “P.S.” conducted surveillance on the home of an individual they believed to be in possession of a large quantity of oxycodone pills and a substantial amount of cash made from the illegal sale of narcotics.

Later, the three returned to the residence and “engaged in a home invasion ... to seal oxycodone pills and/or drug proceeds.” Schoch — who was on duty at the time and was in uniform and carrying his duty weapon, a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol — provided P.S. and Pittman with “police tactical equipment” and  “entered the home under the guise of serving a search warrant,” records state.

No search warrant for had been issued for the home. In response to a question from Bunning, Schoch said he didn’t even have a piece of paper with him to serve as window dressing in case someone questioned whether he had a warrant.

Pittman served as a lookout for Schoch and P.S., the plea agreement states.

Schoch, who joined the Bradenton, Fla., Police Department in October, told the judge he went into the residence looking only for money and not for pills. “He was hoping to relieve a drug dealer of ill-gotten gains,” Mussetter said. However, Schoch admitted he knew the others were seeking drugs and that he had assisted them in doing so.

Neither cash nor pills were found in the residence, according to court records.

Bunning ordered Schoch, who had been free on bond, remanded to custody following the hearing.

Records state the case against Schoch and Pittman is related to the prosecution of Schoch’s estranged wife, Ashley Dawn Schoch. Ashley Schoch and her co-defendant, Phillip John Spurlock, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone. According to their plea agreements, Ashley Schoch and Spurlock both sold oxycodone to confidential informants working for law enforcement in 2010 and 2011. Both are scheduled to be sentenced on June 10.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2654.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Boyd Democrats take floor at Elks

    Boyd County Democrats met at the Elks Lodge for a matchup between candidates for two of the hottest primary races in Boyd County: sheriff and judge-executive.
    The candidates, sponsored by the Boyd County Democratic Women’s Club, each took to the podium to face the crowd Tuesday night and discuss the candidacy and platforms for the race that is still over a month away.

    April 15, 2014

  • Shay receives 38 years for fatal shooting

    Casey R. Shay, 27, of Morehead, was sentenced Monday to 38 years in prison for the fatal shooting last year of Cassandra M. “Cassie” Owens, 21.

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416homegarden.jpg Space not problem with home garden

    Growing your own dinner is not a concept lost on Kenny Imel.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greenup court jumpstarts road repairs

    As part of the Greenup County Fiscal Court’s annual expenses, the court approved the first reading of an ordinance that allots up to $1.5 million for blacktopping damaged county roads.

    April 15, 2014

  • Nursing home reports drug theft to APD

    Woodland Oaks Health Care Facility, 1820 Oakview Road, on Monday reported the theft of 30 hydrocodone tablets from a secured area within the nursing home.

    April 15, 2014

  • Devices left from previous construction discovered

    All four lanes of U.S. 23 were shut down for nearly two hours Tuesday following the discovery of old explosives on a hillside rock cut.
    The devices apparently were left over from a previous construction project and were discovered by a crew working on the new Ironton-Russell Bridge, Russell Police Chief Tim Wilson said.

    April 15, 2014

  • Boyd walk to raise awareness of autism

    The differences in the nine children in Carla Malone’s classroom are striking.
    A few can talk, but some won’t make a sound and others jabber apparent nonsense sounds.
    There are playful children and those who keep to themselves. Some of the children can read and do other academic tasks. Schoolwork for others means matching pictures and doing exercises to develop fine motor skills, like learning to hold a pencil.

    April 15, 2014

  • Grimes outpaces McConnell in first quarter

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has again outpaced her likely Republican general election opponent, incumbent Mitch McConnell, in fundraising during the first quarter — but she remains well behind McConnell in total fundraising and cash on hand.

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416explosives0166 copy.jpg UPDATE: U.S. 23 reopened; explosives eliminated

    More information on the U.S. 23 closure from the the Kentucky Department of Highways.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • BREAKING: Explosives find shuts down U.S. 23

    All four lanes of U.S. 23 have been shut down to the discovery of undetonated explosives on a hillside, authorities said.

    April 15, 2014