Shannon police chief recognized for thorough investigation

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com Lee County District Attorney Trent Kelly, left, awards Shannon Police Chief Desiree Kershner with a distinguished service award for her and the department's work regarding a sexual battery case.

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Lee County District Attorney Trent Kelly, left, awards Shannon Police Chief Desiree Kershner with a distinguished service award for her and the department’s work regarding a sexual battery case.

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

SHANNON – Shannon Police Chief Desiree Kershner was recognized Thursday for her diligent investigation which led to the successful conviction and January sentencing of a Shannon man.

District Attorney Trent Kelly told the Shannon Board of Aldermen his office was able to take the case through the grand jury and take a guilty plea well before going to trial because the investigation from Kershner and Assistant Chief Tracy Barnett was done so well.

“We always hear when our police do a bad job, but it’s refreshing, especially in a small jurisdiction where budgets are limited, to see such a good job,” Kelly said. “This plea was made because she painted (the defendant) into a corner where he had to plea guilty.”

The case Kelly referred to was the sentencing of Merlin Casey, 47, who was arrested on sexual battery charges in August and then sentenced in January.

Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jim Pounds gave Casey 30 years in prison, 22 of those to be served day-for-day.

“We worked really hard, and I was with the family all through this,” Kershner said. “We had the family of the victim, a mentally challenged adult, at the sentencing, and it was a tearful occasion. This was a victory getting (Casey) put away for 30 years.”

jb.clark@journalinc.com