COSHOCTON — A candidate for judge of Coshocton County Common Pleas Court was arraigned on criminal charges in that court on Friday.
William Todd Drown, 51, of Coshocton, was indicted April 15 with robbery, a second-degree felony, tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and two counts of theft in office, fifth-degree felonies, from an incident on May 24, 2021. He said it related to the removal of junk tires from a nuisance property in the Village of Conesville, where he serves as solicitor.
Drown entered pleas of not guilty to all charges. He’s being represented in the matter by attorney Samuel Shamansky of Columbus. Assigned to the case is retired Judge Daniel T. Hogan of Franklin County. Clifford Murphy of Licking County has been appointed special prosecutor.
The hearing was held via Zoom per the request of Shamansky. A telephone conference to discuss matters between Hogan and the two lawyers will be scheduled in about 30 days. A personal recognizance bond was continued.
Drown is running for the Republican nomination for judge of common pleas court against incumbent Robert Batchelor. He first won the bench in 2010 over Drown, who ran as a Democrat.
Drown has called the case against him bogus and a cheap tactic by his political enemies. He has requested the Ohio Attorney General’s Office launch a political corruption investigation into Batchelor and Coshocton County Prosecutor Jason Given. Drown has accused them of being behind the indictment, even though both removed themselves from the case.
He’s also asked the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office to assign neutral observers to oversee Tuesday’s primary. He believes Republican members of the Coshocton County Board of Elections won’t administer proceedings fairly. The Coshocton County Republican Party, which endorses Batchelor, has sponsored a website calling Drown a failed businessman, politician and lawyer.
The Secretary of State’s Office said it has sent Drown a copy of the elections officials manual and pointed him to a provision detailing the process of acquiring his own observers.
Conesville Council released an official statement this past week stating it fully supported Drown and believes he acted properly in accordance with village laws and tasks assigned him by council.
Drown sent a second letter to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on Friday touting the statement from Conesville Council and continuing to question elements surrounding the case regarding the special prosecutor and grand jury process.
Leonard Hayhurst is a community content coordinator and general news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with close to 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @llhayhurst.