State Investigates Peach Co. Coroner Candidate

9:05 AM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
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The Secretary of State's office is investigating retired Fort Valley Fire Chief, Otis Lee Daniel Jr., who is now running against Kerry Rooks for Coroner in Peach.

This is true. According to Jared Thomas, Press Secretary for Secretary of State Brian Kemp,  retired Peach County Fire Captain Tony West filed a complaint alleging Otis Lee Daniel Jr.,
"put false information on his qualification form in that the candidate was convicted of a felony."

According to court documents Daniel was convicted of a felony in August 1972. When he was seventeen years old, he pled guilty to burglary. Daniel told 13WMAZ's Jennifer Moulliet he never served time in prison, and he gave us this document from the state Board of Pardons and Paroles showing that he was pardoned in 1988.

He declined to go on camera, saying he didn't want to fuel the lies.

We spoke to Tony West, the man who filed the complaint. He's also retired from the Fort Valley Fire Department. He was a captain at the same time Daniel was chief.

He says he has no vendetta against the candidate, but says he should be disqualified because of the felony even though he was pardoned. West points to line F of the affidavit that Daniel signed to run for coroner. It says: "I have not been convicted of a felony offense or any offense involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this state or any other state or the United States."

Under Georgia law, moral turpitude includes crimes like theft. However, another document signed by Daniel says: "if so convicted that my civil rights have been restored and at least ten years have elapsed from the date of completion of the sentence without subsequent conviction of another felony involving moral turpitude."

Since Daniel was convicted forty years ago and has been pardoned, this should allow him to run.

Daniel's opponent Kerry Rooks says he's friends with West, but said he didn't know anything about the complaint.

Peach County's Elections Supervisor, Michelle Riley says the county election board will meet to decide whether Otis Lee Daniel Jr. is eligible to run for coroner. They have not yet set a meeting date.

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