Elmore Co. DA forced to drop 100 counts against alleged child predator
TALLASSEE, AL (WSFA) - He's one of the most notorious criminal suspects in Elmore County. Now most of the 105 counts against defendant Stephen Conrad, who had been indicted on rape, sodomy and child sex abuse counts, won't hold up in court.
In May, Tallassee Police Chief Jimmy Rogers called the investigation surrounding Conrad "unprecedented for Elmore County," as new witnesses and victims came forward almost daily following the initial arrest.
According to Elmore County District Attorney Randall Houston, the same could now be said for the investigation.
"It's sickening. We prepared a 105 count indictment. Now we have to dismiss 100 of those counts," Houston said.
Houston learned Nov. 15 only five of the counts were backed up with solid evidence during a meeting with ABI.
"The remaining counts are based on what we've determined to be a coerced confession," Houston said.
Houston says former Tallassee Assistant Police Chief Chris Miles, the investigating officer, is responsible for tainting the investigation to the extent the cases had to be dropped against Conrad's three co-defendants, Brandy Conrad, Helen Gantt and Mark Ray, immediately.
What's left of the case is based on testimony from three adult witnesses who were allegedly abused by Conrad as children -- information Houston sees as "solid" evidence.
While the FBI and ABI investigates Miles' involvement in this cast Houston admits there's no way to know the former officer's impact on pending cases currently being prosecuted by the DA's Office or other active investigations at the Tallassee Police Department.
"He was the evidence technician at the Tallassee Police Department. So all the evidence was logged in. Any drug cases, any cases where we have to have the evidence to introduce the trial, those cases are going to have to be looked at very closely.He is a link in the chain of custody, and we will not use him as a witness for any case in the 19th Circuit," Houston said.
This information was presented to Judge John Bush during Conrad's plea hearing Tuesday morning. Judge Bush continued the hearing until Friday.
According to the district attorney, if Conrad chooses to plead not guilty to the five counts, ABI will pursue a new case with likely more charges.
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