Martin’s Ferry Police Chief Barry Carpenter, 40, along with another police chief, was accused of meeting with freelance photographers last May and offering items such as a poem, photos, legal documents about the surrogacy agreement, and pictures of ultrasounds. A photographer alerted the surrogacy agency, which reported the thefts to police.
After 12 hours of deliberation, a jury found Carpenter guilty of receiving stolen property, theft in office and tampering with evidence. He was found not guilty on two counts of burglary and one count of unauthorized use of property or services.
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Carpenter, who was silent and held his head in his hands as the decisions were read, faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing Dec. 10. Until then, he must wear a home confinement device at his mother’s home and will be tracked with a GPS device.
Michelle Ross, a 26-year old single mother, gave birth to the twins in Martin’s Ferry last June by emergency C-section. She was one of the last witnesses to testify in Carpenter’s trial.
Carpenter has publicly maintained he only went into the house to secure the premises after noticing a door ajar. He claims he did not take anything from the house and that his discussions about meeting with photographers, which were caught on tape, were just him joking around.
“I stand by what I say. I didn’t burglarize no home,” Carpenter said in a videotaped interview with investigators, which was presented in court. “I don’t want to give up a 17-year police career for something that was a joke.”
His alleged accomplice, Bridgeport Police Chief Chad M. Dojack, 29, will stand trial in January.