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Bond set for Coroner Tuten

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 12:04 PM
Last updated Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 1:58 AM
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Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten pleaded not guilty Thursday to the indictment that accuses him of multiple counts of theft and violating his oath of office.

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Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten, left, talks with his attorney, Danny Durham, during a bond hearing at the Richmond County Courthouse.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten, left, talks with his attorney, Danny Durham, during a bond hearing at the Richmond County Courthouse.

Tuten, 70, was back in Richmond County Superior Court in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit — handcuffed and shackled — to again ask for his release on bond. Tuten had been free on bond for a single theft charge lodged against him Dec. 20. Thursday’s bond hearing was needed because an indictment returned this week by the grand jury added charges against Tuten.

Judge Sheryl B. Jolly, who is assigned to preside over the case, set a $30,000 bond for Tuten.

District Attorney Ashley Wright told the judge that Tuten is accused of basically keeping property of deceased people whose heirs were not immediately known, and charging fees that are not authorized by law.

Wright estimated each of the eight thefts and the five offenses that are the underlying basis of the five charges of violation oath of office was about $1,000 to $2,000. The theft charges are felony offenses because Tuten is accused of committing the crimes as a government employee.

According to the indictment returned Tuesday, the crimes allegedly took place from 2005 through May. Wright said the illegal proceeds that should have gone to the county went into a bank account Tuten established. It has been seized.

Wright did not oppose bond. Defense attorney Hank Crane asked Jolly to consider leaving the bond at $3,000. That amount was set a day after his arrest.

Crane cited Tuten’s strong family support and complete compliance with the conditions of bond set last month — no contact with the coroner’s office or access to any county IT account — as reasons to allow Tuten to remain free on the lower bond amount.

Wright told the judge Thursday that she would notify the governor’s office of Tuten’s indictment.

Since Tuten has been indicted on criminal charges, the process to determine what happens to the elective office can begin, said Sasha Dlugolenski, Gov. Nathan Deal’s spokeswoman.

After receiving the letter, the governor has to wait 14 days before appointing a review commission with two coroners and the attorney general. The commission has 14 days to decide if it will recommend the elected official should be suspended. The decision is up to the governor.

If removed from office, Richmond County Probate Court Judge Harry James may appoint a person to compete Tuten’s term in office.

Tuten’s current salary is $65,000. Tuten was a deputy coroner for 26 years before being elected in 2004.

Comments (14) Add comment
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Dseven
155
Points
Dseven 01/16/14 - 01:49 pm
2
1
Sinking to a new level of curruption

If the allegations are true, if this man is guilty... then what an offense to the community. Robbing the dead, disgusting.

Sweet son
9661
Points
Sweet son 01/16/14 - 02:03 pm
2
1
Reminds me of the movie star caught with the hooker and the

late night tv show host asking: "What were you thinking?"

Grover, what were you thinking? It wasn't worth it! Unbelievable!

David Parker
7921
Points
David Parker 01/16/14 - 02:19 pm
2
1
This town needs an enima

This town needs an enima

nocnoc
38240
Points
nocnoc 01/16/14 - 03:21 pm
3
1
still want to know more facts

Was he reported only to the Fed's and not RCSO?
Or, was RCSO informed, but decided to hand it over the FED's
and NOT the GBI?

Riverman1
79153
Points
Riverman1 01/16/14 - 04:24 pm
5
1
Coroner's class question

Coroner's class question. "You find a person at an accident and he doesn't appear to be breathing. What is the first thing you check?"

Correct answer..."The wallet."

Riverman1
79153
Points
Riverman1 01/16/14 - 05:37 pm
2
2
It Goes Back A Bit

I've posted comments here a few times about Tuten and false death certificates of prominent public officials' family members. I was totally ignored by law enforcement and the press. One of the Chronicle posters and I met at T-bones and tried to figure out how to handle what I knew. (Please contact me) If the Feds or anyone else wants to know more, please contact me.

Gananna 14
7
Points
Gananna 14 01/16/14 - 05:47 pm
2
2
Coroners of the past have been accused of the same thing

The county is always trying to get who ever is in this office for something illegal but have been unsuccessful in the past and will be again. The informer is / was and unhappy employer with ties to higher offices and it is all POLITICAL people.

Riverman1
79153
Points
Riverman1 01/16/14 - 05:50 pm
4
2
Gananna, so it's ok to break

Gananna, so it's ok to break the law in horrendous ways because it's been done in the past? Like I said, Feds, DA or whoever contact me.

Austin Rhodes
2852
Points
Austin Rhodes 01/17/14 - 09:13 am
3
3
LOL

Call RIVERMAN !

If you know there is a fire down the street, do you post on the AC comments section that you need the fire department to call you?

Will someone please give RM the number for 911.

David Parker
7921
Points
David Parker 01/17/14 - 09:51 am
2
0
It would appear that anyone

It would appear that anyone with additional info should come forward. Seein as how the victims of this crime are all dead. Now settle it down or you'll all be standing in the circle during recess.!!!

Darby
23557
Points
Darby 01/17/14 - 03:39 pm
2
0
Austin - Is this where I'm supposed to ask...

What's the number for 911?....

Darby
23557
Points
Darby 01/17/14 - 03:42 pm
2
0
"This town needs an enima."

Yeah, and maybe an enema too.

Darby
23557
Points
Darby 01/17/14 - 04:08 pm
2
0
"Grover, what were you thinking?

It wasn't worth it! Unbelievable!"

.
It was worth it, right up until he got caught!

harley_52
22064
Points
harley_52 01/17/14 - 03:51 pm
1
1
I Know Something You Don't....

....and I'm NOT tellin'.

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