Jury acquits Poteau CareerTech official of embezzlement charge

Thursday, October 21st 2004, 6:16 am
By: News On 6

POTEAU, Okla. (AP) -- A Kiamichi Technology Center official plans to return to work in a few days after a Le Flore County jury acquitted him of embezzlement.

The panel took less than a half hour Tuesday night before finding Chad Hull innocent.

Hull, public information director for the Kiamichi CareerTech district, was accused of using a government-owned pickup truck to "haul partisan politician campaign paraphernalia."

Hull said Wednesday he intends to be back on the job next Monday after being suspended with pay for several months.

"I was so proud the jury saw through the political motivation behind this," he said.

The state's multicounty grand jury indicted Hull in December.

A photograph of the pickup hauling a sign for then-congressional candidate Mike Mass was published in The Oklahoman along with a story about the state grand jury investigation.

Several witnesses testified that there was an unwritten policy that allowed personal use of the pickup owned by the vo-tech system.

When Hull took the stand, he testified that he was moving the pickup from a place he was renting to his new home, and a broken Mass sign was in his pickup.

Davey Sutton, director of the Poteau vo-tech campus, was accused of quizzing employee Stacey Nickell about whether he had taken the photo of Hull's pickup showing the sign.

Sutton was indicted on a charge of witness intimidation and convicted earlier by a Le Flore County jury. His sentencing is set for Nov. 5.

"The whole tragedy in this is that one of the finest gentlemen I know ... was caught in this political intrigue," Hull said.