Former Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly has been recommended for a program that would allow him to serve the last 180 days of his sentence in a half-way house instead of a state prison.

The former sheriff, 77, was recommended for the program by the Ohio Parole Board on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020.

Kelly was found guilty of 12 felony and misdemeanor counts on Feb. 12, 2015, by an Athens County jury. The counts included engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, 12 counts of theft in office, three counts of theft and one count each of perjury and failure to maintain a cashbook. The jury deliberated for 16 hours to come to the decision after listening to three weeks of testimony of witness and arguments by Wood and prosecutors from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Kelly has filed multiple appeals for the charges, citing insufficient evidence for some of his convictions, including perjury and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

According to a Ohio Department of Corrections spokesperson, all incarcerated offenders are preliminarily screened upon admission for eligibility. Under Senate Bill 143, offenders sentenced to more than two years are not subject to judge veto — only offenders serving two years or less are allowed a judge’s veto. For that process, a letter is sent to the sentencing judge, who can reply with “no comment, approve, or disapprove” as it relates to the transfer to transitional control.

An offender released to the transitional program is still classified as an inmate and will serve the remaining six months of their sentence in a community setting.

Currently, Kelly is being housed in the Franklin Medical Center of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. His release date is set for Oct. 15, 2021, and where he may be sent for a halfway house is still unknown.

Kelly was sentenced to one year each on the first eight counts of theft in office, each to run concurrent to the other, for a total of one year; one year each, concurrent to one another, on the other counts of theft in office to run consecutive to the first eight counts; six months for failure to keep a cashbook, concurrent to the theft in office charges; two years for perjury, consecutive to the other charges; and three years for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, consecutive to the other sentences — adding to a total of seven years in prison.

Kelly was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,936.60 relating to the charges that he sold county scrap and did not deposit the money with the county, according to Ohio Attorney General’s office spokesman Dan Tierney. He will not have to pay back the $2,860 which would have been owed to his campaign, as the account is now defunct. The total restitution could have been up to $6,795.60.

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