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Former deputies accused in stolen guns case in court

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

LEXINGTON Ky. (WKYT) - We continue to track the case of two former deputies accused of stealing guns confiscated by the sheriff's office.

Merle McDaniel and Bill Beers headed back to court this morning, once again entering pleas of not guilty during their circuit court arraignments.

A judge outside of Fayette County presided over the hearing. It was back in May when Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt announced the charges against Beers and McDaniel.

Sheriff Witt said following an internal investigation it was determined numerous confiscated guns were missing from the office's evidence locker.

Merle McDaniel is charged with two counts of felony theft by unlawful taking and one count of official misconduct. Bill Beers is charged with two counts of felony theft by failure to make required disposition, one count of misdemeanor theft by failure to make required disposition and one count of official misconduct.

The two sergeants resigned shortly after the allegations arose. Sheriff Kathy Witt said in all 14 guns confiscated by the former deputies were missing. The guns were supposed to have been logged into a that evidence locker.

McDaniel is accused of taking taking a half-dozen guns from two men beginning in 2010, pawning two of the guns at Dan's Discount Jewelry & Pawn. All but one gun of the six guns have been returned, according to authorities.

Beers allegedly took eight guns in 2012. Shortly after the investigation began, he returned the guns to the sheriff's office.

Following today's hearing, McDaniel's attorney declined comment, however Bill Beers' attorney did talk with WKYT briefly.

"No question we believe in his innocence," Brent Caldwell, Bill Beers' attorney said. "We look forward to showing that to the court, and to the jury."

The judge set a pretrial conference for Aug. 30.

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