Former DCSO deputies receive prison sentences in light of convictions

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Former Decatur County Sheriff’s Office deputies Elizabeth Croley, Robert Wade Umbach and Christopher Kines were sentenced by Judge W. Louis Sands Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Albany.

Croley was sentenced to 18 months prison time followed by two years of supervised release and a $125 fine. Umbach and Kines were both sentenced to 15 months prison time followed by two years of supervised release. Umbach was fined $125, and Kines’ fine was waived.

Croley, Kines and Umbach were convicted in June 2015 after they were charged with multiple counts related to an incident at Bikefest 2012.

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Sands made clear that the volume of the sentences were being greatly reduced, citing the maximum sentence for Croley’s charges was 41 months of jail time and Umbach and Kine’s charges were 27 months of jail time.

Both the prosecutors and defendants were given opportunities to speak on their parties’ behalf, with Attorney Risa Berkower speaking on behalf of the government. Kines and his attorney, Kermit Dorough, Umbach and his attorney, Tina Hunt, and Croley’s attorney Josh Bell gave their final arguments before Sands.

Bell and Dorough declined to comment following the sentencing.

“We aren’t done,” Hunt said, confirming she and Umbach plan to appeal the sentence and the conviction.

All parties have 14 days to file an appeal.

After an altercation with civilian Ronnie Aaron Parrish and a subsequent cover up, the deputies were brought before Sands for a two-week trial in June 2015. Former Grady County Sheriff’s Office deputy Wiley Griffin, IV, was acquitted of his charge of Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law.

Former DCSO captain Liz Croley was found guilty on two counts: Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law and False Reporting. The jury’s verdict was that Croley deprived Parrish’s rights to a fair criminal trial for his conduct at Bikefest by writing false reports.

Former DCSO deputy Robert Wade Umbach was found not guilty for False Reports, but found guilty for Tampering With Witness Evidence. Umbach was involved in the altercation with Parrish, but reported false information to FBI special agent Steve McDermott about Griffin, IV’s, involvement with Parrish.

Former DCSO deputy Christopher Kines was charged with the same counts as Umbach. He was found not guilty for False Reports but found guilty for Tampering With Witness Evidence for the same reasons as Umbach.

All three deputies will surrender at a later date.