Towns County Sheriff Rudy Eller: 5 years in prison
In July 2007, chief deputy Eddie Osborn fired several shots into the Hiawassee home of a man who had been having an affair with his wife, according to a GBI affidavit. Afterward, the deputy gave Rudy Eller the gun and asked him to tell GBI investigators that he’d had it for a couple months. Eller agreed. He cleaned the gun and stashed the .40 caliber barrel used in the shooting in a hidden compartment in the dresser in his bedroom.
A year later, Eller pleaded guilty to making false statements, tampering with evidence, hindering apprehension of a criminal, and violating his oath of office.
In a public statement, Eller said:
“I could attempt to blame others, but it is no one’s fault but my own and I take full responsibility for my actions. … The law promotes order in our community and allows us all to live in peace. The law requires all of us to behave in such a way that respects the rights and property of our neighbors. The law does not play favorites and is meant to be obeyed at all. No one is above the law – including me.”
Eller’s lawyer asked that the sheriff serve his sentence on probation, rather than prison, and that he be sentenced under the First Offender Act to protect his pension. District Attorney N. Stanley Gunter said he would not object to a probated sentence and asked the judge to show mercy for Eller, who suffers from diabetes and emphysema:
“He loses his ability to earn a living, pay for his bills. His physical condition today is such that he cannot work. He’s lost his career. He’s been disgraced in office. A lot of the consequences like that we believe have been enough punishment without jail time.”
Superior Court Judge Lynn Alderman was unmoved: “The court is in the business of justice. Mercy is for the Lord and other parties who are not here today.” She sentenced Eller, 65, to five years in prison.