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Ex-secretary rejects plea deal, will head to court

| Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006

A former Fayette County secretary accused of stealing almost $47,000 from the office of District Judge Robert W. Breakiron declined a plea agreement Wednesday, opting to have the case heard by a jury.

Barbara S. Shaffer, 51, of Dunbar, pleaded not guilty in June to 81 counts each of tampering with public records and obstructing the administration of law, as well as a count each of theft by unlawful taking and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.

Standing before Judge Steve P. Leskinen yesterday in Fayette County Court, Shaffer said she would not accept the plea agreement offered by District Attorney Nancy Vernon. The details of the proposed deal were not available.

Shaffer will be placed back on the November trial list, Leskinen said.

Breakiron has testified that he began looking into bank statements after the county's Clerk of Courts Office said it received a bounced check from the magisterial office.

The state Auditor General's Office discovered $46,858 missing from the district judge's account after completing a 10-month audit of office records from January 2002 to February 2005.

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