Former Central Kentucky coroner sentenced to home incarceration in federal conspiracy case

·4 min read
Matt Goins

Former Scott County Coroner John Goble was sentenced to one year of home incarceration on Friday after pleading guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government.

On top of his home incarceration, Goble was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Goble will be on probation for two years following the incarceration period.

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove.

The recommended sentence for Goble was between six and 12 months. Federal prosecutors were accepting of the option of home incarceration for Goble, who suffers from health issues.

Van Tatenhove reiterated the seriousness of the offenses committed by Goble during the hearing, even magnifying it given Goble’s former status as a public official. However, Van Tatenhove also understood Goble’s limitations due to health issues and felt a home incarceration sentence was appropriate.

Goble and Michael Crawford, a former Kentucky State Police trooper, have now both been convicted of conspiring together to secure weapons and nearly $40,000 worth of ammunition that belonged to the state police supply branch in Frankfort.

Stolen ammunition was stored in the basement of Goble’s office, according to the indictment. Goble had an employee move the ammunition from the office basement to Goble’s home in December 2017.

Goble and Crawford also met with another state trooper in 2017 to purchase other weapons that were designated surplus and sold by the state police, according to the indictment. The internal investigation showed Goble received three M1A rifles and 10 Remington shotguns which a state trooper illegally obtained from the state police, the indictment says.

Before being sentenced Friday, Goble wrote a letter to Van Tatenhove, saying he had been a law-abiding citizen for the majority of his life. Goble also mentioned his service in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1970 to 1972, his time with the Kentucky State Police from 1974 to 1992, his service as a city council member and his time as coroner.

“The criminal case in front of you, for which I am awaiting sentencing, came about due to an instance of extremely poor judgment,” Goble wrote in his letter, which was filed into court records. “I considered Colonel Michael Crawford an extremely close friend and would do anything for him or with him. I made decisions at that time on ‘advice of friends’ that I know now were incorrect and illegal.

“For this poor judgment and bad behavior, I am sincerely sorry. I apologize to you and the citizens of Kentucky for my misdeeds.”

Several other people who worked with Goble in the marines, the state police force or the Scott County Coroner’s Office also submitted letters to Van Tatenhove to advocate for Goble.

Goble pleaded guilty to the conspiracy back in May. He also resigned as the Scott County coroner.

“I conspired to possess ammunition owned by the Kentucky State Police over a four year period with two subjects,” Goble said after pleading guilty. “In doing so, I stored those weapons in my office, and I knew that it was wrong. I did this with a KSP trooper and a lieutenant, who I knew well. I did not hesitate to get access to this ammunition.”

Crawford was convicted in federal court last month for his involvement in the same conspiracy. He will be sentenced on Dec. 13 and faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of a $250,000.

Former corner faces additional criminal charges

Earlier this month Goble pleaded guilty in Scott County Circuit Court for a charge of perjury after accepting a plea deal with prosecutors. The plea deal dropped charges of abuse of public trust, first-degree official misconduct, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first-degree official misconduct and two counts of receiving stolen property.

Court records state Goble committed perjury in May 2018 when he testified under oath to a Scott County Circuit Court Grand Jury.

Court documents say he made a false statement that he used his daughter’s vehicle to transport donor eyes from the Kentucky Eye Bank to West Virginia when he actually unlawfully used a government vehicle belonging to the Scott County Fiscal Court.

Goble faces one year in prison for the perjury charge. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.

Reporter Taylor Six contributed to this report