PULASKI COUNTY, Ind. — A Pulaski County jury acquitted former sheriff Michael Gayer this week of seven criminal charges including theft, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice.
As Call 6 Investigates reported in 2016, a State Board of Accounts a State Board of Accounts demanded a former Michael Gayer repay $20,632 in missing firearms and ammunition purchased with taxpayer money.
Gayer was indicted in August 2016, and this week a Pulaski County jury found Gayer not guilty on all seven charges, according to his attorney Bryan Cook of Indianapolis.
“Justice was done in this case.,” said Cook in a statement to RTV6. “Gayer was publicly lambasted since his 2016 indictment on 7 public corruption related charges. The Special Prosecutor, Nelson Chipman from Marshall County, bit off more than he could chew, and Gayer’s legal defense brought a sledgehammer to the Special Prosecutor’s case.”
Gayer served as an Indiana State Trooper for 27 years, and 8 years as Sheriff of Pulaski County.
“He deserved better than this, and we want to thank the courageous jurors who stood up and did the right thing,” said Cook. “Its really sick what they did to this local hero, this former law enforcement officer deserved better than a bogus indictment as his retirement ‘gift.’ He deserved better after he faithful served this community for 35 years as law enforcement.”
As part of the audit, Gayer was also ordered to pay $6,005 in additional audit costs racked up by state auditors.
However, Gayer’s attorney said the state’s civil case to collect money was on hold until the criminal case was resolved.
Public funds may not be used to pay for personal items, according to the audit.
Former Sheriff Michael Gayer told Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney in 2016 he left office Dec. 31, 2014 and knew nothing about the weapons being purchased by his department.
“I know nothing about it,” Gayer told Call 6 Investigates. “I am just as surprised as anyone.”
Gayer told Call 6 Investigates in 2016 he had no plans to repay the $26,637 demanded by the State Board of Accounts.
“That’s common practice for the head of the department to be held accountable for something like that, but I did not take those guns or the ammunition,” said Gayer. “I know nothing about them missing.”