Arrest Made in Case of Slain Sheriff-Elect

From Associated Press

A former sheriff's deputy has been charged with lying to investigators about circumstances surrounding the death of the sheriff-elect, a reformer who was gunned down just before he was to take office.

Melvin Duane Walker, 36, was arrested Tuesday on a felony charge of giving a false statement to police. A warrant accusing an unidentified person of the same crime was also issued. A conviction carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Derwin Brown was shot 11 times when he returned to his Decatur home shortly before midnight Dec. 15. His wife and five children found him lying in the driveway. Brown had defeated incumbent DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey in a runoff in August.

Walker and the unidentified suspect are accused of lying about former Deputy Patrick Cuffy, Dist. Atty. J. Tom Morgan said. Cuffy's home was searched in January by police, who took ammunition and receipts for two guns.

Police spokeswoman Mikki Jones declined Wednesday to say whether Walker and the others are also suspects in the shooting of Brown.

During his campaign for sheriff, Brown had promised to clean up the sheriff's department, which had a history of corruption going back 30 years. Thirty-eight department employees had been told they would be fired when Brown was to take office Jan. 1.

DeKalb's assistant chief of police, Eddie Moody, said in December that he had no doubt Brown was killed because of his planned reforms.

Dorsey, the county's first black sheriff, has said he did nothing wrong and accused the media and Brown, who was also black, of waging a racist campaign against him. Cuffy has also denied wrongdoing, saying he was targeted because of his affiliation with Dorsey.

Walker was one of four deputies fired after interim Sheriff Thomas Brown, no relation to Derwin Brown, took office Jan. 1. Walker was also a former employee of Security Investigation Division Inc., a private security company owned by Dorsey.

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