Former mayor of Mason Pete Beck denied early release from prison -- for now

Former mayor of Mason Pete Beck denied early release from prison -- for now
Posted at 11:10 AM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 11:10:48-05

CINCINNATI -- A second attempt to get former state lawmaker Pete Beck out of prison happens Thursday morning after a judge denied an emergency motion earlier this week.

An emergency motion requesting Beck, 64, be released early from prison was denied Tuesday by a Hamilton County Common Pleas judge.

“This court upon consideration of the law and evidence considers the timing of the motion to be premature since the reconsideration period of the First District Court of Appeals’ decision on appeal has not yet expired,” according to the ruling.

The judge said Beck’s attorney, Pierre Bergeron, can re-file the motion after the expiration of the reconsideration period, which is 10 days. The decision by the appeals court was rendered on Dec. 14.

However, Bergeron filed the same motion before that period concludes, but this time for Common Pleas Judge Tom Heekin who was unavailable to hear the first motion. Heekin assumed the case load of retired judge John A. West, who presided over Beck’s 10-week trial and sentenced him to four years in prison. 

This second emergency motion hearing is set for 11 a.m. Thursday.

The First District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati last week overturned 10 of 13 criminal counts Beck had been convicted of in June 2015, and the remaining three counts carried a year prison sentence. Beck has been incarcerated since August 2015.

Bergeron declined to comment on the denial because of the pending hearing. 

Beck was initially indicted on 16 charges on July 19, 2013, for his connection with the failed tech start-up called Christopher Technologies. Prosecutors say he played a significant role in the company in bilking millions of dollars from investors. In February, a subsequent indictment increased the counts to 69, but those had been reduced during the 10-week trial.

The former Marine and Mason mayor was found guilty on 13 of 38 counts in June 2015, and was sentenced to four years in prison in August 2015. He was immediately taken into custody after his hearing and has been incarcerated ever since. Beck is currently in the Southeastern Correctional Institution.

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