Holton Town Marshal found guilty

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

Billy J. Moore, 39, of Versailles, was found guilty of Prohibited Sales or Transfers of Ownership or Possession, a Class C Felony, last Wednesday, June 6 in Ripley Circuit Court.

The jury trial began on June 5, where jurors would hear information they would later use to give the guilty verdict in the case.

The charge is defined as a person who sells, gives, or in any other manner, transfers the ownership or possession of a handgun to another person who the person has reasonable cause to believe has been convicted of a felony.

Melvin Wilhelm was the Special Prosecutor in the case that was presented in Judge Carl Taul’s court.

The charge stems from an incident that occurred last June when according to the Probable Cause Affidavit, Ripley County Probation Officer Shannon Schmaltz responded to a call at the George Moore residence in Holton. The probation department received a complaint that George Moore had been drinking alcohol and was operating a vehicle with a child in it. George Moore was on probation for a prior domestic felony charge.

Schmaltz went into the home on June 1, 2006, to administer a portable breath test. That’s when he found a .380 Bursa Thunder handgun lying on the floor next to the bed. George Moore told Schmaltz it was his son’s.

The affidavit further notes that Billy Moore, who was the town marshal at Holton, arrived and said the gun belonged to him and asked if he could get it. Schmaltz told him not to touch the gun. Sgt. Bill Davison of the Ripley County Sheriff’s Department arrived and took custody of the weapon, which had bullets in the magazine and chamber.

Later, Billy Moore called the prosecutor’s office saying the gun was left at George Moore’s so his son, Dereck, could pick it up and try to sell it to one of his friends. Dereck Moore confirmed the story as did George.

In the affidavit it says that Billy Moore said he knew that George Moore was a convicted felon, but had forgotten because he deals with him on a professional basis and “never thought anything about George not being able to have a handgun.”

The defendant further stated that he didn’t even think that George Moore knew the gun was at his building. He said he made a mistake by leaving the gun. Billy Moore further admitted he wasn’t aware of the statute I.C. 35-47-2-7 “certain handgun transfers of ownership prohibited.”

Billy Moore was arrested on January 26, 2007, and posted $1500 on the $15,000 bail that was set. He was serving as the town marshal at Holton and was placed on desk duty until he went to trial. He is no longer employed with the town as the marshal according to Attorney Larry Eaton.

A pre-sentence investigation report was requested by Judge Carl Taul to be completed before August 10. Sentencing in the matter is set for August 17 at 2:00 p.m.