A former Ohio State Highway Patrol lieutenant pleaded not guilty Friday morning in Delaware County Common Pleas Court to charges of tampering with records and theft and will stand trial in September.
William P. Elschlager, 47, of Marietta, appeared before Delaware County Common Pleas Magistrate Kristin Schultz and entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of tampering with records and six counts of theft, all third-degree felonies. Schultz accepted this plea and scheduled him to stand trial for the charges on Sept. 29.
Schultz added that any agreement must be submitted at least one week prior.
Schultz then placed Elschlager on a recognizance bond and stipulated that he faces an $8,000 fine if he violates the terms of the bond.
Assistant Delaware County Prosecutor Mark Sleeper told the magistrate that police had executed a search warrant at Elschlager’s home to find evidence in a Washington County criminal case and during the search they located two firearms that had been stolen from evidence while Elschlager was a trooper at the Delaware post of the highway patrol. Sleeper said when police checked the paperwork for the guns they learned that Elschlager had recorded that he had destroyed the guns.
Sleeper said one of the guns was still in the evidence bag.
Schultz told Elschlager he faces a prison term of between nine and 36 months in prison for each of the charges along with a fine of up to $10,000.
Elschlager has also pleaded not guilty in Washington County Common Pleas Court to six charges including abduction, criminal trespassing, menacing by stalking and receiving stolen property. The Associated Press reports these charges stem from an affair Elschlager had with one of his troopers’ wife while he was the post commander in Marietta. He will stand trial on those charges on Aug. 3.
Prosecutors said Elschlager later left his position at the Delaware post and became post commander at the Marietta post.
Officials from the Ohio State Highway Patrol said that Elschlager was fired on Feb. 1 for “conduct unbecoming of an officer” and other offenses after he was charged with the incident in Marietta Municipal Court.
Officials report Elschlager had been with the Ohio State Highway Patrol since 1997.