Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 11, 2013

Ex-APD officer to plead guilty in pill-trafficking case

Kenneth Hart
Associated Press

ASHLAND — A former Ashland Police Department officer will plead guilty to federal pill-trafficking charges.

Attorney C. David Mussetter, who represents Melvin “JR” Schoch Jr., on Friday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Ashland for his client to be re-arraigned for the purpose of changing his plea from not guilty to guilty.

Schoch’s re-arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday before Judge David L. Bunning.

Schoch’s trial had been scheduled to begin on May 28. Assuming he does not follow Schoch’s lead and enter a guilty plea himself, his co-defendant, Ellis Pittman, 34, will stand trial on that date.

Schoch, 29, 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.

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.