CCSO investigating report of perjury by constable candidate

Published 5:12 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018

Investigators of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office are conducting an investigation into whether or not a county resident committed perjury when he signed an affidavit claiming he had not been convicted of a felony as part of the candidate qualification process to run for constable.

Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford confirmed his office is investigating a report that Roy Coffey committed perjury on his candidate paperwork after the matter was referred to them by the District Attorney’s Office.

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According to police reports, CCSO Capt. Jeff Markland began the investigation on Dec. 28 after the Sheriff’s Office received a letter from Assistant District Attorney Ryan Curtis regarding Coffey. Markland said the letter from Curtis said the District Attorney’s Office had been informed Coffey has a felony conviction out of North Carolina. In the letter, Curtis said he had spoken with the District Attorney’s Office in Avery County, N.C., and had confirmed that Coffey has a felony conviction from that jurisdiction.

Under state law, individuals convicted of a felony cannot serve as a constable. During the candidate qualification process, those seeking to run for constable must sign an affidavit confirming the state-mandated requirements for the office, including stating that they have never been convicted of a felony in any state or federal court.

According to records from the Carter County Election Commission, on Dec. 18, 2017, Roy A. Coffey, age 67, of 120 Old Highway 19E, Roan Mountain, picked up paperwork to run for constable in Carter County’s second district, which includes the Roan Mountain and Tiger Valley precincts. As part of the paperwork process, Coffey signed his affidavit for election to the office of constable declaring he had never been convicted of a felony.

Lunceford said his office is currently working to determine if Coffey has, in fact, been convicted of a felony offense.

“We ran his criminal history and there are some things there, but we are waiting on the court documents and records,” Lunceford told the Elizabethton Star. “We’ve got to get those documents to either confirm or dispute the allegations.”

Once his office has completed the investigation, Lunceford said he will forward their findings to the District Attorney’s Office for their review, and they will decide whether or not charges will be pursued against Coffey.

The Elizabethton Star obtained public records from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s offender information registry showing that a Roy A. Coffey with the same date of birth listed on Coffey’s candidate paperwork has prior felony convictions in North Carolina. According to those records, Roy A. Coffey was convicted of a felony offense on June 1, 1989, and received a split confinement sentence ordering him to serve six months in jail followed by a period of probation. The records also indicate Roy A. Coffey was convicted a different felony offense on March 15, 1973, and as a result of that conviction served a prison sentence with the North Carolina Department of Corrections. According to the records, his release date on that conviction was November 30, 1977.