Ex-deputy’s ‘turfing’ case heads to trial.

October 18, 2016
Hanks

Hanks

#OceanaCountyNews #OceanaCountyCourtNews

Ex-deputy’s ‘turfing’ case heads to trial.

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — The misdemeanor “turfing” case against former Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Wesley John Hanks, 52, is headed to trial.

Newaygo County Prosecutor Robert Springstead, who is handling the case, said a tentative trial date of Nov. 29 in 78th District Court was set Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 18.

Hanks, who had worked for the department for over 11 years, faces two misdemeanor charges of malicious destruction of trees, shrubs, crops, grass, turf, soil less than $200 and police radio receivers/scanners – use in the commission of a misdemeanor.

Hanks, who was arrested by the Hart post of the Michigan State Police, was still employed as a sheriff’s deputy when he allegedly committed the crimes, according to his court file. The charges stem from an Aug. 5 incident, his file states.

“John was employed by the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office from Feb. 21, 2005 until Sept. 21, 2016,” previously said Oceana County Sheriff Robert Farber, who did not want to elaborate whether Hanks was fired or resigned.

Details leading to his arrest are also unclear. The matter was turned over to the Special Investigation Section at the MSP district headquarters in Rockford. A message left at that office has not been returned.

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said he recused himself from the case due to a conflict of interest. The case was handed over to Springstead, who declined further comment on the case Tuesday due “the ethical rules of a prosecutor.” Springstead said he did not want to go into any further detail beyond what is contained in the criminal complaint. “I don’t want to taint a potential jury pool,” he said.

Hanks is free on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

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