Chief guilty of 3 counts in Parker-Broderick case

AP News
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 7:05 PM

An eastern Ohio police chief was convicted of three felonies Monday but was acquitted of burglary charges in an alleged break-in at the home of a woman who carried twin girls for Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

A jury found suspended Martins Ferry Chief Barry Carpenter guilty of receiving stolen property, theft in office and tampering with evidence. He was acquitted on charges of burglary and unauthorized used of property or services.

Carpenter put his head in his hands after the verdict was read in Belmont County court.

"The bottom line is that there is a victim in this case whose privacy was so gravely intruded upon," Ohio Assistant Attorney General Emily Laube said. "If you can't trust the police, who can you trust?

Messages seeking comment were left for Carpenter's attorney, Dennis McNamara, and for Parker-Broderick spokesman Simon Halls.

Prosecutors alleged that Carpenter broke into Michelle Ross' home in May, took items related to her pregnancy and the surrogacy, and schemed with the Police Chief Chad Dojack of neighboring Bridgeport to sell the items to celebrity photographers.

Dojack faces trial in January on two counts of complicity to burglary and one count of complicity to receiving stolen property.

Carpenter had testified that he went into the home to check it out because he saw a door open. He said he took photos of a surrogacy file that contained two ultrasound pictures and of a plaster cast of a pregnant stomach but did not take anything from the home.

He said he showed the photo of the cast to paparazzi and to several other people and said he never discussed selling items from the home to the photographers.

When his lawyer asked if he was just "messing" with the photographers, Carpenter said "absolutely." McNamara said in closing arguments last week that Carpenter made a bad choice.

"Barry admits that he acted very stupidly, but denies that he acted criminally," he said.

Ross testified that she was staying in a West Virginia hotel around the time of the alleged break-in and that, when she returned, she noticed ultrasound photos, surrogacy files and tax information were gone, photos had been rifled through and the plaster cast, made when she was pregnant with her own son, was misplaced.

Ross gave birth to the twins June 22 at an Ohio hospital.

Jurors deliberated for about 12 hours on Friday and Monday.

Carpenter faces a maximum 10 years in jail when sentenced Dec. 30. Until then, he must stay in his mother's home and will be monitored by a GPS device.

(This version CORRECTS time element to Monday.)