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Bourbon County jailer is sentenced to three months in jail

A Central Kentucky jailer was found guilty Tuesday night on two misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to three months in jail.

Tony Horn, who has been absent from his position as Bourbon County jailer since he was indicted in September 2008, had been charged with two counts of tampering with physical evidence, a Class D felony, and two counts of first-degree official misconduct, a misdemeanor.

But the jury did not convict Horn on those four charges, instead finding him guilty of two counts of a lesser tampering charge: criminal attempt to tamper with physical evidence.

The tampering charges came after Horn was accused of ordering the destruction of e-mails regarding the death of inmate Daniel Trimble, who committed suicide in February 2008, and after he was accused of sending a fabricated document related to Trimble's death to the Department of Corrections.

The official misconduct charges stem from accusations that Horn failed to report or investigate the disappearance of 30 methadone pills and that he allowed an inmate charged with first-degree robbery to have work release without a court order.

Circuit Judge Tom P. Jones accepted the jury's recommendation that Horn serve 90 days in jail and pay a $500 fine. Horn will serve his time in the Clark County jail. He was facing up to 12 years in prison if found guilty of the original charges.

In the fall, Horn, a Republican, plans to run for Bourbon County judge-executive.

He testified Tuesday that he sent incident reports about Trimble's death to the Department of Corrections. But he said he did not see a fabricated observation report completed by a jail employee after Trimble's death. The report said Trimble had been checked on in his cell periodically.

Defense attorneys said the Department of Corrections probably received the report from state police after the employee who produced the report gave it to a state trooper.

But the prosecution questioned why Horn did not tell state police the document was false. Horn said he knew no one had checked on Trimble after he watched a surveillance video the day Trimble died.

Horn also said he asked other jail employees to delete e-mails about Trimble's death because he thought information in the messages about Trimble's physical and mental state violated privacy laws.

Horn testified he investigated the missing methadone pills and filed a report. The prosecution said the report was done a month after Horn found out about the missing pills and after questions were raised, and that Horn did not investigate thoroughly.

Horn said he did allow an inmate work release, but he did not realize the man wasn't allowed out. He said he relied on his chief deputy jailer Sandy Dotson to help him. Horn was a newly-elected jailer at the time.