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Grand jury indicts sheriff candidate

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

A local candidate for Grant County sheriff was indicted last week by a grand jury.

William Andrew “Bill” King, of Dry Ridge, was indicted for wrongful registration. He is accused of not being eligible to register to vote because he had been convicted of bank robbery in U.S. District Court in 1994.

The charge is a Class D felony and carries a penalty of one to five years. An indictment means there is cause to believe a crime has been committed. Guilt or innocence is determined through the trial procedure.

Under Kentucky’s Constitution, a convicted felon cannot vote unless the Governor has restored his/her rights.

On the Notification and Declaration form that candidates seeking office are required to fill out, candidates must affirm they are a U.S. citizen, live at the address they listed on the form and they are not a convicted felon or if they have been convicted of a felony that their rights have been restored by an executive pardon.

“It is our belief that he registered to vote without having his rights restored,” said Shelley Johnson, a spokesperson in Attorney General Jack Conway’s office.

King said that he went to the county clerk’s office and checked his voter registration before filing for office.

“Something is messed up,” King said. “I was surprised when I received a criminal summons.”

King said he asked the clerk to check and see if he was eligible to vote or what process he needed to follow in order to vote.

“They pulled it up on the computer, using my social security number and address,” he said. “I was told that I was on the inactive voter list, meaning I hadn’t voted in the last few years, but they didn’t say I was ineligible.”

King, who operates a gas station in Dry Ridge, said he doesn’t hide the fact that he is a convicted felon, but said it was a long time ago.

“That was 17 years ago. It’s the past. I don’t dwell on it,” King said. “I think I’ve proven a lot by having a business. That should go a long way.”

King was convicted on May 12, 1993 for two counts of armed robbery for robbing the Corinth branch of Eagle Bank (now Forcht) and the Verona Bank. He was also convicted of one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

He was sentenced in February 1994 in U.S. District Court in Covington to serve 12 years in federal prison on all counts.

“I don’t know that I did anything wrong, “King said, of the voter registration issue. “I believe I did right by asking if I was eligible. It’s messed up and I’m going to hire a lawyer to get to the bottom of it.”

Convicted felons can ask to have the governor restore their right to vote.

According to the Governor’s General Counsel Office, there is no record of Gov. Steve Beshear granting a pardon to King.

The Attorney General’s office said it began the investigation after receiving call questioning whether King could be a candidate.