A former Lucas County sheriff’s deputy who gave a gun to a felon pleaded no contest on Monday to two counts of falsification for lying about the incident.
Paul Little, 40, of 2932 Lambert Dr. was then found guilty of the first-degree misdemeanors by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Linda Jennings, who scheduled sentencing for March 12.
Mr. Little, a 13-year veteran who was fired by Sheriff John Tharp after the incidents occurred, had been indicted by a Lucas County grand jury in July for unlawful transactions of weapons and intimidation of an attorney, victim, or witness in a criminal case.
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded no contest to a bill of information charging him two counts of falsification.
Mike Loisel, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the court Mr. Little knowingly filed two false reports with the sheriff’s office May 6 in which he said his 9mm Smith and Wesson gun was missing from his car, when he had given the gun to another man. Unbeknownst to him, that man was an informant for Toledo police.
Two days later, Mr. Loisel said, the former deputy filed two more false reports with the sheriff’s office, this time saying he had misplaced the weapon and had found it in a duffel bag. In fact, Mr. Loisel said, the man had returned the weapon to Mr. Little under the watch of Toledo police.
Capt. Don Atkinson, who runs the sheriff’s office’s internal-affairs department, said Mr. Little was fired after an internal review board and a disciplinary review board found him guilty of multiple charges.
“We take criminal conduct on the part of sworn officers very seriously,” he said. “They take an oath to uphold the constitution and all the laws of the state of Ohio, and I think that’s what citizens expect. There’s a public trust when you wear that badge.”