Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 25, 2013

Ex-APD officer’s trial postponed

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — The federal court trial of a former Ashland Police Department and another man accused of narcotics trafficking has been rescheduled for a second time.

Following a pre-trial hearing last week, U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning reset the trial of Melvin “JR” Schoch Jr., 29, and Ellis Pittman, 34,  which had been scheduled for May 13, for May 28.

The postponement required Schoch to waive his constitutional right to a speedy trial, which Schoch did through his attorney, David Mussetter.

Bunning also directed the court clerk to summon 50 prospective jurors for the trial, which is expected to last three days.

The case was originally scheduled to go to trial on April 8, according to court records.

Schoch, a former APD officer who joined the Bradenton, Fla., Police Department in October, and Pittman were indicted Nov. 1 by a federal grand jury sitting in Lexington. The indictment alleges the two conspired together, and with others, to distribute oxycodone in Boyd County between November 2009 and April 5 of this year, and attempted to possess oxycodone for purposes of distribution between May and August 2010.

Both men could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined up to $1 million if they are convicted.

Schoch is currently free on a property bond posted by his father. Pittman is lodged in the Carter County Detention Center.

Few details have been released about the case against Schoch and Pittman. However, records state the case 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.