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Former Nye County Sgt., pleads guilty to two felony counts

Former Nye County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Horn entered two guilty pleas during his arraignment hearing on Friday.

As part of his guilty plea agreement, Horn pleaded guilty to misconduct of a public officer and possession of a controlled substance, both felonies.

He is scheduled for sentencing on April 22.

Nye County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Ferguson said Horn’s plea came after negotiations between defense attorneys and the state.

As a result, Ferguson said it’s probable that Horn will not resume a career as a police officer.

“I think it is extremely unlikely he will be a cop again based upon the charges, particularly the misconduct by a public officer,” he said. “Ultimately, that will be up to an agency to make that hiring decision. I think it is definitely a long shot at best, that he would ever be wearing a badge again.”

More than two years ago, Horn was initially charged with oppression under color of office, a gross misdemeanor; and felony charges of misconduct of a public officer, theft against a person 60 years-old or older, theft, possession of a controlled substance, and fraudulent appropriation of property.

Ferguson said his investigation determined that several of the original charges did not apply to the defendant, as Horn was taking discarded medications and painkillers deemed for disposal and keeping them for his own personal use.

“There were initially allegations regarding him being coercive, but upon further inquiry, that turned out to be completely unsubstantiated,” he said.

During the hearing, a contrite and remorseful Horn spoke about his ordeal and what has occurred in the wake of his Jan. 25, 2014 arrest.

He admitted to becoming addicted to painkillers following an injury he sustained several years ago.

Horn said he said he has since sought treatment, including a VA inpatient program.

“I have served my country and two agencies honorably and faithfully and subsequently to that time, I got injured and was prescribed pain medication, which led me to become addicted and making bad decisions,” he said.

Horn also told the court how his actions have created a strain on his marriage and career.

“Your honor, I know I will never be a cop again ever,” he said. “It has cost me five different jobs and a coaching position too. It has cost me my community and my home.”

Ferguson, meanwhile said he believed Horn was honest and forthright during the entire investigation.

“So far as I can tell, all the drugs that were taken were drugs that individuals were seeking to have disposed of and therefore not being thrown down the drain and into our water supply or the landfill.”

Ferguson also noted that Horn’s sentencing next month will likely include mandatory probation, a statutory drug diversion program, and possible jail time at Judge Kim Wanker’s discretion.

“If he’s successful, then there is an adjudication of guilt and the case then goes away,” he said. “He will be a felon for at least the duration of his probation. He could do up to 728 days in our county jail as a condition of his probation if that’s the way the judge is inclined to go.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com

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