At a preliminary hearing on Friday, February 15, Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Bertram, 26, had all charges dismissed in district court by Judge Scott Lawless upon a motion by County Attorney Kevin Shearer and will now be taken up by a grand jury (which met Tuesday, February 26.)
Through his lawyer, Derrick G. Helm of Jamestown, Bertram expressed his appreciation to the community for the support and prayers he had received.
Bertram had been charged with third degree burglary, official misconduct, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Kentucky State Police.
The charges stem from a phone call received on Friday, January 4, 2013, by Kentucky State Police Post 15 in Columbia complaining of a burglary at Fields Welding on Lakeway Drive in Russell Springs.
Upon talking with complainant Lance Fields it was determined that a possible burglary had occurred in the latter part of December.
Fields and Bertram had previously had a business relationship involving farm gate production, it was reported.
Investigation of the scene also produced what appeared to be a “hazardous waste overpack” that was suspected to be evidence in a Russell County Sheriff’s Department investigation, according to the state police.
A meth lab cleanup unit was called to the scene and they determined the overpack contained a “one-step” meth lab that had been neutralized, according to state police.
Through the course of the investigation a search warrant was obtained for Bertram’s home in the Pleasant Hill Community off Ky. 1680.
The search of the residence yielded items related to the alleged burglary as well as multiple meth lab overpacks, which were also suspected to be Russell County Sheriff’s Department evidence, according to a state police news release, which also stated had been found “a one-step meth lab and a large amount of drug paraphernalia.”
The search of a personal grooming travel bag in Bertram’s patrol car allegedly contained a smoking pipe with a small amount of marijuana.
It was also determined that a laptop computer in the car had been seized in another investigation and that Bertram was using it for personal use, state police reported at the time.
County Attorney Shearer said he didn’t feel like his office could go forward in district court, and that his understanding is the Kentucky State Police would move forward with undetermined charges at a grand jury hearing on February 26.
“I just feel like at this point in time I couldn’t go forward with the case,” Shearer said.
“I don’t know exactly what charges they’re presenting or what they’re going to present…As far as with the district court level with the preliminary hearing I didn’t feel like I could go forward and so that’s why we made (the) decision to make a motion to dismiss the charges.”
The dismissal affects all charges in district court.
Shearer clarified that though felony cases often start in district court but that district court does not handle felony cases in their entirety, only handling them initially until they are either dropped or moved to a grand jury.
“In district court you can’t take felony pleas,” Shearer said, saying that Bertram would not have either pleaded guilty or innocent in district court.
The only way the office of the County Attorney would become re-involved with the case would be if the grand jury would indict Bertram on a misdemeanor that the circuit court did not take and sent back to the district court. As the case is ongoing, Russell County Sheriff Lee Smith said that Bertram will remain on personal leave until the findings of the grand jury.
“The state police still have an ongoing criminal investigation,” said Sheriff Smith.
“Although the charges have been dismissed in district court, they will be presented, it is my understanding, to the grand jury on the 26th by the state police. They’re going to present their case to the grand jury then. If the grand jury indicts or doesn’t indict, I’ll have to make a decision after that,” Sheriff Smith said.
“Until the conclusion of that I really can’t make a decision what to do.”
A Russell County man accused of embezzling more than $625,000 from his employer, Bruss North America, in Russell Springs, was arrested for the alleged crimes late last Thursday night, February 14.
Kyle W. Robertson, 32, of Russell Springs, was arrested and charged with 32 counts of theft by unlawful taking over $10,000, 36 counts of misuse of electronic information and four counts of theft by unlawful taking under $10,000.
State police say that between April 28, 2008 and January 14, 2013, Robertson, as an employee of Bruss NA, made 36 electronic wire transfers from the Bruss’s account with Deutsche Bank in New York to a personal account by Robertson at the Monticello Banking Company in Russell Springs.
The wire transfers totaled $625,096.41, according to state police.
Robertson was lodged in Russell County Detention Center.
Detective B.J. Burton with the Kentucky State Police continues the investigation.
Bruss, headquartered in Germany, is the developer and manufacturer of high-performance sealing systems for power train applications. Automobile manufacturers throughout the world have relied on their seals, gaskets and modules for almost 50 years, according to their website.