CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — We now have more information regarding the indictment of Randall County Sheriff, Joel Richardson.
According to court documents, Richardson was indicted on a charge of Abuse of Official Capacity.
The indictment claims Richardson signed one or more change orders for the purchase of drones and API licenses which had not been authorized by the Randall County Commissioner’s Court, and that he had not been authorized to sign.
Documents say the change order or orders were valued at more than $150,000 but less than $300,000. The sheriff faces a second-degree felony.
Read the indictment here:
Special Prosecutor Quenton Hatter told MyHighPlains the charge boils down to Sheriff Richardson signing change orders that were unauthorized and making purchases that were unauthorized with county money.
“I don’t believe in trying cases in the media, but i understand this kind of case, by that I mean a public figure, that there’s questions asked that might not be asked in a different case, on a different person,” Hatter said. “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. A Randall County grand jury chose to indict him and they had the option of returning a true bill or a no bill. They returned an indictment, a true bill.”
Under the Texas Penal Code, if found guilty, the sheriff could face two to 20 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or a combination of a fine and prison time.
Richardson released a statement on the Randall County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, saying:
I want to thank the residents of Randall County and surrounding communities for their recent outpouring of support. I have been overwhelmed with hundreds of calls, texts and emails from friends and colleagues across the region.
It has been my absolute honor to serve the citizens of Randall County for 44 years, 20 of those as Sheriff, and I will continue to do so with the utmost integrity alongside the great men and women of the Randall County Sheriff’s Office.
Although I am unable to share details at this time, I look forward to the facts of the case being released to the public and this bogus charge being dropped.Joel Richardson
Richardson is not running for re-election in November.