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COLUMBIANA COUNTY Task force probe pleases selectee



Published: Fri, May 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The first step the appointee will take is to meet with local authorities to assess the case's status.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- A Portage County assistant prosecutor said he's pleased with his first appointment as special prosecutor and looks forward to aggressively pursing a Columbiana County case.

Eugene Muldowney was appointed earlier this week by Judge David Tobin of Columbiana County Common Pleas Court. He'll handle the prosecution and investigation in the theft of cash in March from Columbiana County Drug Task Force headquarters in Center Township.

County Prosecutor Robert Herron asked Judge Tobin to appoint Muldowney because Herron has conflicts in prosecuting the case.

Witness in case: Herron is a witness because a suspect returned much of the stolen money to Herron several days after the cash was reported missing.

Herron also is on the drug task force's controlling board.

Muldowney, 38, said he intends to meet with county authorities in the next week to get a briefing on the case.

"Depending on what they have, it might be necessary to have more investigation," he said.

Muldowney has been an assistant county prosecutor since 1991. He is one of two assistant Portage County prosecutors who handles felony cases for that office.

This is the first time he has been tapped as a special prosecutor.

He said he's excited about the opportunity.

Herron said Muldowney was chosen as special prosecutor because he has extensive trial experience.

While pursing the drug task force case, Muldowney will still continue handling some of his Portage County duties.

Although his attention won't be devoted full time to the Columbiana County case, he said he still intends to pursue it aggressively.

Lake Milton: Muldowney said he grew up in the Lake Milton area. His brother, Shawn of Austintown, practices law in Mahoning County.

Authorities have said little publicly about the drug task force theft, including how much was taken and whether the suspect is a task force member.

The agency is made up of six officers from police departments in East Liverpool, Columbiana, East Palestine, Washingtonville, Lisbon and Salineville.

leigh@vindy.com




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