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Indicted trustee can handle finances

Champaign County official asks state for more details of case against him.Zerkle is 1 of 9 seeking 2 seats as trustee in November.

A Mad River Twp. trustee who was indicted on charges of theft and forgery is asking prosecutors to clarify their case against him, while also reaching an agreement Thursday that will allow him more leeway in handling some village finances.

Brad K. Zerkle, of 590 Neal Road, was indicted earlier this year on two counts of theft in office and one count of forgery. His attorney, Jon P. Rion, filed a bill of particulars this week asking state prosecutors to provide more specific information about the allegations. Zerkle is seeking re-election this fall, one of nine candidates seeking two available seats as a trustee.

“The defendant states that the indictment is vague and indefinite,” the bill states. “The defendant is unable to prepare an intelligent defense due to this lack of specificity.”

Zerkle faced a bond revocation hearing Thursday after notifying prosecutors he planned to conduct township business such as handling cash from the sale of burial plots in the township cemetery. As part of his initial bond agreement, Zerkle had initially agreed he would not be permitted to handle the township’s fiances. However, prosecutors and Rion reached an agreement that will allow Zerkle to conduct business at funerals and sell burial plots for the village when appropriate.

Zerkle’s indictment shows he was accused of theft involving gasoline owned by the township, as well as forgery involving medical insurance.

Rion said Zerkle is eligible to receive health insurance from the township but declined because he received insurance from his job in Kentucky. The forgery charge involved a discrepancy over out-of-pocket expenses the township owed as a reimbursement, and Rion argued the state has provided little evidence to support either charge.

“Mr. Zerkle has claimed his innocence from the beginning, and we will not settle this case short of a trial,” Rion said.

During the hearing, prosecutors agreed to review the bill of particulars within two weeks before responding.

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