Wall reinstated back to job with the Linton Fire Department by the Board of Works
Veteran Linton firefighter Kent D. "Opie" Wall is back on the job starting Tuesday morning.
Wall, who holds the rank of Captain and has been a member of the Linton Fire Department for more than 27 years, pleaded guilty to a class A misdemeanor charge of trespassing last week in Greene Superior Court.
The plea deal ended a judicial saga that started last summer on a lake in Greene-Sullivan State Forest and resulted in Wall being placed on administrative leave by the city on Aug. 13.
He was taken off the city's payroll Dec. 11.
Following his sentencing to the lesser misdemeanor charge, the Linton Board of Public Works convened for less than five minutes in a special session Monday morning to approve Wall's return to the Linton Fire Department at full pay.
Linton Mayor John Wilkes presided over the meeting and recommended Wall, who has been on the fire department since the fall of 1985, be reinstated.
Fellow Board of Public Works members Tony Richards and George Skeel joined the mayor in voting to send Wall back to work.
In shaking Wall's hand after the meeting adjourned, Richards told him, "I'm glad things worked out."
Wilkes said the city followed procedure and when the charge was reduced, it allowed the Board of Works to take Wall off of administrative leave.
"We have received from the court a plea agreement that takes Opie from being charged with a felony. He was convicted of trespass, which is a very minor incident. It's a class A misdemeanor," Wilkes said. "With that being done, the board can now reinstate him back to his job and that's what I would recommend."
Wilkes commented after the vote, "I'm just glad to have this behind us and glad that Opie is back (to work) and get things back to normal. It worked for the court the way it should work. We (as the city) did what we had to do according to the law and what was put before us."
After the meeting, Wall, who purchased one-acre on Richard Lake last year, said he didn't wish to elaborate on the incident, but said he was glad to be back to work.
"It (the incident) nearly ruined my life," he said of the incident, which he said lasted just two or three minutes.
The 50-year-old Wall was originally charged with intimidation involving a threat communicated to a law enforcement officer ---- a class D felony, and intimidation involving a threat made to another with the intent that they engage in conduct against their will ---- a class A misdemeanor.
The firefighter signed a negotiated plea agreement earlier this month with the prosecutor's office.
He was sentenced to 180 days in jail with all of the time suspended.
Under the terms of the negotiated plea agreement worked out between Wall's attorney, Joseph Lozano, of the Bloomington law firm of Shapiro & Lozano, and Greene County Deputy Prosecutor Keven McIntosh, both of the original counts were dismissed and Wall pleaded guilty to trespassing, a class A misdemeanor.
In addition to the suspended sentence, Wall was ordered by Greene Superior Court Judge Dena Martin to serve 60 hours of community service and pay a $35 fine plus court costs.
He will be on probation for 180 days on several terms and conditions including: While on probation, Wall may not carry or use a firearm or ammunition, and he may not operate a "SeaDoo" or similar watercraft, or allow the same to be operated on Richard Lake.
The criminal case against Wall was filed on July 19, 2012 following the incident on July 9 on Richard Lake in Greene-Sullivan State Forest.
Wall owns part of Richard Lake and other sections are owned by the State of Indiana and by Alvin and Doris Clark.
According to court records, Indiana Conservation Officer Michael Gregg allegedly was confronted by Wall after investigating reports of a 13-year-old boy trespassing on a personal watercraft that the boy was allegedly operating dangerously.
Gregg, while investigating, reportedly determined while Wall owned part of the lake, other sections were owned by the state and the Clarks.
The conservation officer, after seeing the teen, who was reportedly weaving the personal watercraft among the islands less than 50 feet from shore at high rates of speed, Gregg cited the teen's father, Brett Kramer, of Route 4, Linton.
Kramer was charged with criminal trespass ---- a class A misdemeanor. His case was settled Jan. 16 when he entered the pre-trial diversion program agreement.
The conservation officer also noted that the teen was allowed to operate the watercraft without a driver's license, a boater education card or direct adult supervision, according to the probable cause that was filed by Gregg.
The conservation officer also reportedly informed Wall and Kramer they could only operate on the part of the lake Wall owns, according to court records.
When Gregg went to the Clark's home, Kramer followed, riding his watercraft onto the property.
Gregg, accompanied by Linton Police Officer Chad Crynes, then arrested Kramer.
"At that time Kent Wall threatened bodily harm to the Clark family and myself," Gregg wrote in the probable cause, alleging that Wall told the conservation officer he needed to leave the property and not return without a warrant.
Staff Writer Anna Rochelle contributed to this report.