Former Jerome County sheriff to go to trial next week on felony theft charges

October 31, 2018

JEROME — The former sheriff of Jerome County will come before a jury next week.

Doug McFall faces five charges: two felony counts of grand theft, one felony count of misuse of public funds, and two misdemeanor counts of petit theft. He was arraigned in March after an investigation by the Idaho Attorney General’s office resulted in a criminal complaint.

A trial set to begin Nov. 7 will take place as planned, defense attorney Doug Nelson told Judge Ned Williamson at the hearing. The trial is scheduled to last two days, but could go longer depending on witness testimonies and the amount of time needed to select a jury.

Williamson acknowledged that jury selection might be tricky in a case with such a well-known defendant. McFall first ran for Jerome County Sheriff in 2008 and retired in February 2018.

“I do anticipate quite a few hands being raised when I ask if anybody knows Mr. McFall,” Williamson said.

The charges stem from several incidents that took place between 2015 and 2017, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

In December 2017, the complaint said, McFall told a Jerome County man that he wouldn’t arrest him for theft if he took horses from another person. When the man later stole horses from Sugar Loaf Arena, McFall did not arrest him.

The Attorney General’s Office also said McFall used county money for personal expenses in December 2015, December 2016, and March 2017.

The complaint includes claims that McFall redeemed a Costco Reward Certificate belonging to Jerome County for his own use and kept the remaining balance, recycled Jerome County tin and automotive parts and kept the proceeds for himself, and used the Jerome County gas card and the Jerome County credit card to buy fuel and pay for a hotel room during a personal trip.

The misdemeanor petit theft charges stem from allegations that McFall claimed expenses with Jerome County when he was scheduled for an official function in March 2017 but didn’t go to the function.

The Attorney General’s Office began investigating McFall around the same time that a former lieutenant with the sheriff’s office was accused of taking money meant for undercover drug buys. The former lieutenant, Dan Kennedy, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of misuse of public funds in September 2017.