Sheriff#039;s deputy arrested, charged with felony

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Butler County sheriff's deputy was arrested and charged Friday with a felony count of intimidating a witness and a misdemeanor count of obstructing governmental operations, according to a statement from state Attorney General Troy King.

Kenneth O'Neal Hadley, 35, of Greenville surrendered at 1 p.m. Friday to Sheriff Diane Harris at the Butler County Courthouse, where he was arrested and charged. He was released on bond Friday.

The arrest stems from a two-charge indictment released by a Butler County grand jury on Sept. 13. He has been put on administrative leave, according to Harris.

"I'm not going to say anything else regarding the case, but I did ask for the investigation," Harris said on Monday.

Harris turned the investigation over to Alabama Bureau of Investigation Agent John Wall, which led to the indictment.

The indictment charges that Hadley allegedly revealed the name of a confidential informant to a defense attorney and acted to intentionally prevent a Butler County sheriff's investigator from performing his official duty.

The second count charges that Hadley allegedly threatened a witness or someone he believed would be called as a witness earlier this month, to corrupt that person's testimony before the Butler County grand jury.

"It is particularly important when a law enforcement officer is accused of wrongdoing that citizens know he will be called to account for the alleged offenses," according to a statement from King. "The citizens and law enforcement community of Alabama should be assured that justice will be served regardless of who stands accused of committing a crime."

Hadley, who once was a member of the Greenville Police Department, rose through the ranks of the Butler County sheriff's office to chief deputy before being recently demoted.

If convicted, Hadley faces a maximum penalty of one to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine up to $5,000 for the Class C felony of intimidating a witness. Hadley also faces up to one year imprisonment and a fine up to $2,000 for the Class A misdemeanor of obstructing governmental operations.

King's office handled the case at the request of Butler County District Attorney John Andrews. Evidence from the ABI investigation was presented to the Butler County grand jury by Assistant Attorney General Don McMillan.