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Byrd calls for special prosecutor

On Tuesday morning, Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Dennis Byrd filed a petition for the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the case of John Britton, an officer with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department who allegedly provided the means by which his wife shot herself.
The petition says that the appointment of a special prosecutor is necessary to avoid the appearance of impropriety and/or a conflict of interest.
Christine Britton died of an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound in March at the couple’s home near Ramsey. Indiana State Police investigators said that during questioning John Britton admitted leaving a handgun in the room after his wife threatened to shoot herself.
The petition says that both the Indiana State Police and the Kentucky Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was suicide.
Byrd’s request says that on Sept. 24 and Oct. 6, 20 and 27, he consulted with the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council to discuss the ethical duties and responsibilities created by a tort claim against Harrison County filed by the estate of Christine Britton.
Last week, Harrison County Commissioner Terry Miller requested Auditor Pat Wolfe to hold the next payroll claim for John Britton, who was placed on indefinite administrative leave last month by Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick.
The naming of a special prosecutor could take up to several weeks. However, in the case of sexual harassment claims by two dispatchers against Deatrick, Byrd petitioned for a special prosecutor on July 29, and Nancy Jacobs of Switzerland County was appointed a week later.

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