Whether or not that happens is up to Ohio’s state prison department.
Both men are currently incarcerated for crimes they committed while working at the sheriff’s office. They’re both eligible for early release once they’ve completed 80 percent of their prison sentences.
Overmyer pleaded guilty and was sentenced on 14 charges, including theft in office, in 2016. The charges, in part, stemmed from Overmyer stealing drugs from drop off boxes at police departments in the county. The sheriff, who headed up the county’s crime drug task force, was an opioid addict and began stealing the drugs when his doctors cut him off from getting additional prescriptions.
In 2018, O’Connell pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one count of felony evidence tampering relating to false information he provided the Sandusky County prosecutor’s office during the course of the Heather Bogle homicide investigation.
Overmyer was sentenced to four years in prison, which he began to serve on Dec. 15, 2016. He is an inmate at the Allen Correctional Institution in Lima.
O’Connell is an inmate at the Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton. His two-year prison sentence started Sept. 18, 2018.
According to state prison records, Overmyer could get out of prison in January 2020, when he will have served 80 percent of his sentence. The same goes for O’Connell when he reaches his 80 percent mark on April 14, 2020.
Information provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says the state prison director can recommend to sentencing courts that an inmate be released once they serve 80 percent of their sentence. Some offenders, including people charged with murder, drug trafficking or sex charges, aren’t eligible for this type of early release.
Prosecutor Carol O’Brien, who now works for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, is the former Delaware County prosecutor who served as the special prosecutor in Overmyer’s case.
She said Overmyer shouldn’t get out of prison early.
“The crimes he committed were in direct contradiction to his oath of office,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien said Overmyer’s actions damaged the reputation of the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office.
“He put them in such a bad position,” O’Brien said. “Once you have that breach of trust, everyone at the sheriff’s office has to work twice as hard to say, ‘hey, we’re good people.’”
As convicted felons, neither Overmyer nor O’Connell can possess a firearm after they are released. Overmyer’s law enforcement credentials were stripped as a part of his sentencing.
As for O’Connell, Henry County Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers, who served as special prosecutor his case, said it seemed unlikely that state police authorities would renew his peace officer certification when he’s released.
As for the former detective’s prison term, Howe-Gebers felt he shouldn’t get released early.
“He should do the whole two years,” she said. “I don’t think he should be getting out early.”
Overmyer’s full prison term expires April 8, 2020. O’Connell’s expires on Sept. 7, 2020.