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NEW PHILADELPHIA -- The Ohio Attorney General's Office will handle prosecution of fired Newcomerstown Police Officer Bryan J. Eubanks, who is accused of claiming he had been shot in the line of duty to cover up a failed suicide attempt.
Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer requested that the attorney general's office appoint special prosecutors, said Jill Del Greco, public information officer for the attorney general.
The case will be handled by Christian Stickan, senior assistant attorney general, and Micah Ault, associate assistant attorney general. Both are with the special prosecution section, she said.
The shooting took place on April 11. Eubanks, 37, a 14-year officer with the Newcomerstown Police Department, radioed into his office that he had made a traffic stop involving a black Geo Tracker on the bridge over the Tuscarawas River at South River Street. He then claimed that he had been shot in the right forearm by a passenger in the vehicle.
The report sparked a massive response from law enforcement in Tuscarawas, Guernsey and Coshocton counties. Troopers with the Ohio Highway Patrol and federal officials from the FBI, ATF and the U.S. Marshal's Service assisted in the search for suspects.
After an investigation by police, Eubank's story unraveled and he admitted under questioning that he had made up the story.
He was fired from the Newcomerstown Police Department on the day of his confession.
Styer said Friday that the Attorney General's Office has all of the investigation information in the case.
"They have been working with the detectives in this matter," he said. "At this point, they are assessing the case for presentation to the grand jury."
He said it would have been a conflict of interest for his office to prosecute Eubanks.
"We at the time had about a half dozen cases with pending indictments where Bryan Eubanks was the investigating officer and a witness," Styer said. "We also have other cases he submitted that hadn't gone to the grand jury."
The possibility of Eubanks being indicted won't have an impact on the criminal cases he was involved in, Styer said.
"Generally, we have taken a close look at those cases with an eye as to whether we need Bryan Eubanks as a witness," he said. "Unless he witnessed the crime occurring, we can find other ways to prove the case.
"It's not as problematic as some might think. What investigating officers do is they find witnesses who can testify in a case. The testimony of the officers tends to be limited, because it's based on hearsay."