News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 15, 2014

Second deputy charged in Putnam probe

Reserve deputy, son of sheriff, indicted on federal public corruption charges

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Putnam County reserve deputy has been indicted on federal charges of public corruption in connection with an investigation of another deputy.

Andrew “Mo” Fenwick, 24, of Greencastle, appeared Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Terre Haute on an accusation of providing false testimony during the federal investigation of suspended Putnam deputy Terry Joe “T.J.” Smith.

Fenwick is the son of Putnam County Sheriff Steve Fenwick.

Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged in March with excessive force in connection with four arrests that occurred in Putnam County. The charges against Smith are pending, and his case remains set for an April 28 trial.

U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced the charges Tuesday morning in Indianapolis.

If convicted, Fenwick faces up to five years in federal prison for each count, and he could also face up to $250,000 in fines on each count and supervised release for up to three years after serving any prison time.

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday charges Fenwick with three counts of false declarations, alleging that Fenwick provided false testimony during an investigation into Smith’s alleged activity. The indictment alleges Fenwick provided material false statements on March 4 related to:

n The degree of force used by Fenwick to assist Smith in the apprehension of a suspect near Moore’s Bar in Greencastle on Nov. 6, 2011. Fenwick allegedly minimized the degree of force he used, saying that he merely attempted to grab a suspect’s arm to get him under control and did not get on his back while attempting to apprehend the suspect. However, the investigation revealed that Fenwick tackled the suspect to the ground and remained on the suspect’s back, and at Smith’s direction, Fenwick then climbed off the suspect’s back while Smith deployed a taser against the suspect.

n Whether Fenwick had seen a police report prepared by Smith concerning use of force against a suspect at the Cloverdale Travel Plaza on Dec. 28, 2013. During his testimony, he denied that he had seen Smith’s report of the incident, but he had seen it, the indictment states.

n Whether the suspect in that arrest at Cloverdale struck Fenwick before Smith used physical force against the suspect. Fenwick testified that the suspect had hit him twice with a closed fist before Smith arrested the person, the indictment states.

Chief Deputy Tom Helmer told the Tribune-Star that the sheriff placed Andrew Fenwick on “off-duty” status as of March 21. The sheriff’s son had served as an unpaid reserve deputy and as a special deputy for the residential community of VanBibber Lake northwest of Greencastle.

Helmer said that reserve deputy Tony Keith also has been on “off-duty” status since March 21. Keith was with Fenwick and Smith during the incident at the Cloverdale truck stop.

Other merit deputies with Smith at the time of the incidents remain on active duty, Helmer told the Tribune-Star.

During Tuesday’s court hearing, Magistrate Judge Craig McKee set a June 16 trial date in the case.

Fenwick was released from federal custody following the hearing, and was restricted from possessing firearms while the case is pending, and he was ordered to remain in the court’s jurisdiction.

Fenwick appeared in court with defense attorney William Smock. Also at the court hearing were Sheriff Fenwick and other family members.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.