LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - One day after a jury decided that David Kinney was not fit to be Sheriff of Hockley County, his former chief deputy is sentenced to ten years in federal prison.
Gordon Bohannon has been formally sentenced to ten years in federal prison after pleading guilty in late December. Bohannon was one of two deputies arrested by federal agents in the massive July 10th drug bust and admitted to helping Bobby Froman, leader of the Aces and Eights motorcycle gang in Levelland, run a methamphetamine drug ring.
He faced a statutory minimum of 10 years or a maximum of life in prison for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamines.
On March 25th from a court room in Levelland, the former Hockley County Chief Deputy testified against his onetime boss. Gordon Bohannon took the witness stand in the trial to remove Sheriff David Kinney from office.
He told the court that Kinney is responsible for sending him to federal prison. Bohannon admits that he was friends with convicted felon and meth ring leader Bobby Froman, and he says Kinney knew all about it.
Bohannon told the court that he was Kinney's "scapegoat" and expected Kinney to have his back. He said the sheriff was aware of what was going on, but did nothing to stop Bohannon.
In fact, Bohannon says Kinney "pushed" him to keep working with Froman and do what he had to, to get information from and close to the drug dealers.
Bohannon says Kinney was upset the Hockley county DA's office received a government grant that pays for a narcotics investigator - and the Sheriff's Department did not.
So, Kinney wanted to get results, have more drug busts and "outshine other departments."
Bohannon told the court he felt Kinney "led him astray" and regretted that he let Kinney use him the way he did. Defense attorney Rod Hobson argued Bohannon should be responsible for his own actions.
Hobson also referred to a stand-off several years ago in Levelland, where Bohannon shot and killed a suspect who was about to shoot Kinney. Hobson asked Bohannon if he now regretted saving Kinney's life. After several long pauses and moments of silence - Bohannon responded... yes - I do.
At one point during testimony - Bohannon began to cry. During cross-examination when asked why. He said he looked at his family sitting in the courtroom and was crying because of everything he has put his wife and daughter through.
Bohannon has been in custody since July 2009. His attorney maintains Bohannon never possessed any drugs and this sentence is fair.
"To have a sentence that is sufficient but no greater than necessary to protect the public and punish the individual and I submit to you this man has been punished," says Bohannon's attorney Bob Estrada.
Federal prosecutor Richard Baker says this bust should help Hockley County residents restore their faith in law enforcement. He agrees that Judge Cummings sentence was fair and warranted.
"I believe most people expect a higher standard of conduct and honestly when Law Enforcement goes corrupt the punishment should be severe and this punishment was severe," says Baker.
The government says one more defendant awaits sentencing.
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