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September jury trial set for former engineer’s employee

LISBON — A jury trial is scheduled for September in Common Pleas Court for Melissa K. Brennen, the former employee of the county engineer’s office.

Brennen, 49, state Route 7, Columbiana, is charged with theft in office and tampering with records.

Irregularities were reportedly found in late 2019 in a cash account from the tax map office of county Engineer Bert Dawson, which is located on South Market Street in Lisbon. Those amounted to $2,940 in missing funds.

Dawson then reported the discovery to the sheriff’s office and the matter was directed to the office of County Prosecutor Robert Herron, which was involved in conducting a 10-day investigation.

Additionally, the state auditor’s office conducted an audit of the account.

Brennen’s defense attorney, Edward J. Hartwig, has been working with Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble to obtain all the discovery from the case. Hartwig said it appears the investigation may have started in September or early October, but he has the report from the investigation conducted by the detective Troy Walker of the prosecutor’s office, which began the end of October.

Hartwig further asked for the search warrant affidavit, video surveillance evidence and additional information from the audit which was conducted.

Gamble said there was a forensic auditor’s report, but no criminal audit investigation. He also agreed to unseal the warrant for Hartwig’s limited use and said the video surveillance is many hours long, adding Hartwig is welcome to watch all of it, but what he gave Hartwig so far is the pertinent parts.

Brennen was scheduled to return for a status conference on Sept. 14, prior to a jury trial scheduled for Sept. 23.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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