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Former cop Shade gets 27 months in towing scandal sentencing


UPDATED 4:10 Dec. 15, 2010 with comments from Richard Callahan and sentencing:

In court on Wednesday, prosecutors revealed that Shade stopped cooperating last January. They found out about it as they were preparing to take Gregory P. Shepard, the manager at St. Louis Metropolitan Towing, to trial. It was Shade's testimony that helped indict and convict Shepard.

Federal officials were "surprised, disappointed, and irritated," says Callahan, but he would not say who else  could have been charged if Shade had continued to cooperate.

"If we had gained his cooperation we would have followed those leads also. He didn't cooperate and so that's what we're stuck with," Callahan told St. Louis Public Radio.

(In court, Callahan's deputy, Hal Goldsmith, said the lack of cooperation had a "extreme adverse impact" on prosecution, throwing the case into a "tizzy.")

Judge Sippel told Shade that many in the courtroom thought he wouldn't go to prison, but that day "unwound when you recanted, when you told them you never did false inspections."

UPDATED 3:06 p.m. Dec. 15, 2010:

Police chief Dan Isom says in a statement that the department will be requesting "all investigative materials related to this case that were obtained by federal authorities" in order to determine any internal action that will need to be taken. Any information about other criminal activity, the statement says, will be shared with prosecutors at the state or federal level.

Isom's statement says the department waited on an internal investigation because federal punishments are much more severe.

A lawsuit the Board of Police Commissioners filed in May 2009 to recover some of the money that St. Louis Metropolitan Towing kept from the city is scheduled for October 2011.

UPDATED 11:54 a.m. Dec. 15, 2010:

Shade has been sentenced to 27 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. This is the maximum allowable sentence and the most prison time assigned to anyone involved in the scandal.  Shade will not pay any fees because he does not have the financial ability to do so.

Presiding judge Rodney Sippel said that the decision to sentence Shade to the maximum allowable time was influenced most by the fact that Shade was a police officer during the course of his crime and that Shade recanted his guilt to the FBI in January 2010. This recanting, Sippel said, indicated Shade's refusal to take responsibility for his crimes.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan issued a statement with more details about the sentencing. In the statement he said that "All investigative leads have been fully explored and followed.  It pains me to state the obvious, but this Office takes allegations of police wrongdoing most seriously..." and that "The acts of a few bad officers should not tarnish an entire department."

Shade apologized to his family, the police department and St. Louis citizens. 

From earlier:

As we told you earlier in our morning news roundup, the person linking the St. Louis Police Department to the ongoing St. Louis Metropolitan Towing scandal, former detective Kevin Shade, is currently in sentencing.

As the sentencing has proceeded this morning, legal questions surrounding possible inconsistencies in Shade's statements, some under oath, have emerged. The presiding judge has ordered a 5-minute recess for Shade's legal counsel to consult with his client.

We will keep you updated as this story develops.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.