Jan. 18—Former Somerset Police Captain Michael Correll pleaded guilty on Thursday to multiple charges levied against him after a multi-department investigation.
As a condition of the plea agreement, Correll, 44, is facing 10 years in prison. However, because none of the 22 charges are considered violent offenses, there is also the potential he could receive parole rather than jail time.
That decision is left up to Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Teresa Whitaker, who said she would require a pre-sentencing report be done on Correll and would look at any further documentation presented by attorneys.
Whitaker scheduled Correll's final sentencing for February 29.
Until then, Correll remains out of custody on bond, and must comply with the conditions of that bond which include not committing any further offenses and not consuming any illegal drugs or alcohol.
Correll was indicted in March 2023 on multiple counts, including third-degree Burglary, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Abuse of Public Trust, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, Receiving Stolen Property, Official Misconduct and Unlawful Access to a Computer.
One count of first-degree Burglary was amended down to a third-degree Burglary charge. The Abuse of Public Trust charged was amended down to a misdemeanor, as was the Official Misconduct charge.
Those charges stemmed from an investigation in which Correll was accused of committing crimes between November 1, 2022, and January 13, 2023.
According to the SPD, Correll officially retired from the force on November 1, 2022. Part of the Grand Jury's indictment stated that between that date and January, Correll kept keys and keycards belonging to the department without returning them as required.
Correll reportedly used those IDs to gain access to a computer without that person's consent.
The indictment also alleges Correll committed theft by "stealing controlled substances from the MedReturn Box at the Somerset Energy Center." That box is a drop-off for the public to surrender unneeded or expired prescription medications.
Correll was also charged with theft of methamphetamine from the SPD's evidence room.
Commonwealth's Attorney David Dalton said the investigation took "hundreds of hours" to complete, with officers from his office, SPD and the Kentucky State Police working on it.
In Thursday's court hearing, Dalton told Judge Whitaker that during that investigation "other information came to light," but that the Commonwealth would consider this plea and sentencing to be "global," meaning it would cover all of Correll's actions taken during the times of the crimes.
Correll's attorney, Jeremy Bartley, asked judge Whitaker for a probated sentence, while Dalton requested the 10-year sentence be implemented.
However, after the hearing Dalton acknowledged that the possibility for Correll to only receive probation would have been an option, even if the case had gone to trial.
The possible 10-year sentence "sends a strong message to the public that we won't tolerate anyone breaking the law," Dalton said. "And that, myself included, public officials need to be held to a higher standard."
Dalton said that his father is a retired KSP trooper, and as such he and his family understand how important this case was to the public and to law enforcement in general
With someone like Correll, who "tarnished the reputation that hundreds of other people helped create," Dalton said he gets no satisfaction from the closure of what he called a "heartbreaking" case.
Dalton added that he had sympathy for Correll's family and friends, but he does not have sympathy for Correll.
"He did it. He earned (the sentence)," Dalton said.
During the hearing, Correll told the judge that he suffered from PTSD and OCD. According to Bartley, those conditions, along with a surgery that took place before Correll's retirement, led to an addiction.
"He didn't deal with a lot of the stressors that he had in his life. And, as a police officer, he experienced a lot of things that were traumatic to him, as all our officers do," Bartley said.
"So I think that that, paired with the fact he had a surgery — and we know that following surgery a lot of times folks are given some pretty heavy medications with no great game plan on how to wean off of them — those two factors led to Mike making some poor decisions and he's taking the opportunity to address those."
Bartley said that when he was a prosecutor, he worked with Correll for many years. He has also know Correll and his family on a personal level from some time.
"To see him struggle with this, and the way this addiction manifested itself is heartbreaking for me, personally and professionally," Bartley said.
He added that the ordeal has been tough on Correll's family. "Hopefully we can continue to get him the help that he needs," Bartley said.
In court, Bartley told the judge that they were submitting the plea agreement because he felt "we've exhausted every potential defense."
After court, Bartley said the plea was an acknowledgement on Correll's part that he understood the consequences of his actions.
"Mike takes responsibility for many of the actions that were taken. I think that he recognizes there was wrong that was done," Bartley said.
"By the same token, if we're looking his entire life's body of work, Mike Correll has done a lot of good for the community, and sometimes really good people make mistakes. I think Mike would say he made some mistakes, and today he's admitted that he made some mistakes. We're hopeful that we can highlight his entire body of work is him, and not just the mistakes he's made."
Carla Slavey can be reached at email@example.com