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Former chief's sex trial delayed
Typographical error forces prosecutors back to grand jury

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

Morgan County Circuit Judge Steve Haddock on Monday postponed the trial of former Somerville Police Chief Chris Landers so that prosecutors may seek a second indictment for one of three sex charges.

Assistant Attorney General Gerrilyn Grant said someone in the Morgan County district attorney's office inadvertently omitted a line with Landers' age from a count in the indictment that alleged sodomy.

Grant said it was simply a typographical error and she and a colleague cited law in arguing for the judge to allow the indictment to be corrected and amended.

Haddock said by law he could not make that ruling without Landers' consent. Haddock said the law would allow correction of misspelled names, but he does not have jurisdiction to change a charge.

As it is written, Haddock said, the charge would not be sodomy. The prosecutors asked him to continue the trial so that they may seek another indictment.

Authorities accuse Landers, 35, of sodomy and sexual abuse involving underage children.

The attorney general's office is prosecuting Landers because District Attorney Bob Burrell recused his office due to his working relationship with law enforcement.

State prosecutors presented evidence to the grand jury that indicted Landers in July. Landers did not attend his arraignment hearing but his lawyer, John Mays, filed a written innocent plea months ago.

Landers is free on bond. He was police chief at Somerville from October 2004 to January 2006. He resigned for personal reasons, reports show.

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