Former Elbert County Sheriff’s Investigator, Chris Cornell was in Elbert County Superior Court Monday morning to enter a plea in his criminal court case. Cornell was charged with two counts of violation of the RICO Act and one count of violation of the oath of office. The violation of the RICO Act was related to Cornell taking confiscated money and drugs. In order to avoid a lengthy trial, Cornell plead guilty to all counts.
The crimes occurred between August, 2008 and December, 2012. Cornell was sentenced to 15 years in jail, with three years to be served in prison. He will also have to pay restitution, in the amount of $25,187, and a fine of $25,000. Cornell was released Monday and will be required to turn himself into authorities on July 5th, 2017.
Cornell was indicted by an Elbert County Grand Jury during the July, 2015 term on two counts of violation of the RICO Act. The RICO Act, Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, is a United States federal law, that allows prosecution and civil penalties for racketeering activity performed as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise. Such activities which include, but are not limited to: illegal gambling, bribery, kidnapping, murder, embezzlement and drug trafficking. Cornell was also indicted on a third count for violation of oath of office.
Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney, Parks White, prosecuted the case. The Honorable Michael E. Hancock presided over the case.