LIMA — A Lima man sentenced in 2014 to 25 years in prison for trafficking cocaine in Allen County wants a new trial based on evidence contained in a federal indictment opened earlier this week against former Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish.
Speaking by telephone Friday from Madison Correctional Institution in London, Ohio, Demond Liles said his conviction was based in part on information provided by Crish, who now faces federal charges of extortion, soliciting bribes and making false statements to law enforcement officers.
The indictment against Crish outlines alleged dealings between the former sheriff and five separate Allen County residents who reportedly gave him cash in exchange for special considerations and illegal police protection. One of those individuals — although not named in the federal indictment — is Liles.
The Lima man, identified in the federal indictment against Crish only as “Person 2,” said he loaned Crish $20,000 — with the understanding that the former sheriff would repay that debt along with $5,000 in interest — in exchange for Crish looking the other way while Liles held financially lucrative, but illegal, parties at which alcohol was served and admission was charged.
Liles on Friday did not deny holding the parties, nor did he deny loaning Crish money.
“I loaned him money; we was friends, but I didn’t know he was corrupt,” Liles said.
He said the latest information about Crish that has come to light casts a new perspective on his conviction.
“It’s not fair what they did to me; none of this is fair,” Liles said. “Just give me a fair trial, that’s all I’m asking.”
Liles said he has spoken with his attorney, Kenneth Rexford of Lima, about his options surrounding a new trial.
“(Rexford) said he was going to brainstorm over the weekend to see what we’re going to do,” Liles said.
Rexford was not available for comment Friday afternoon.
Liles previously appealed his conviction to the 3rd District Court of Appeals based in part on the grounds that Crish set him up to get out of paying the $20,000 loan.
The appeals court ruled that Liles’s argument of misconduct by Crish was known to him at the time of sentencing and could have or were raised earlier, which barred him from bringing it up on appeal.
The appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling to deny Liles a new trial or new sentencing hearing.