Former Crawford coroner pleads guilty to violating oath

Crawford County's former coroner received 10 years' probation Monday after pleading guilty to failing to carry out his duties.

District Attorney David Cooke says Allen O'Neal pleaded guilty to two counts of violating his oath of office.

Last year, he was arrested, indicted and suspended by Gov. Nathan Deal.
 
That came after O'Neal was accused of refusing to pick up bodies and ordering his assistant coroners not to do the same. He'd been feuding with county officials over his budget.

Cooke says O'Neal's case was moved to Harris County, near Columbus, to avoid conflict of interest.

He received 10 years' probation, and the judge also said O'Neal can't hold or run for any elective office for 10 years.

That means O'Neal has to drop out of this year's coroner's race.

This spring, he qualified last week to run for coroner as an independent. According to the Georgia Secretary of State, O'Neal listed his occupation as "lawn care."
 
Cooke says he did not recommend jail time in the case, due to O'Neal's lack of a criminal record.
 
He said, "This is more about Allen O'Neal accepting responsibility and allowing the community to move forward."
 
 


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