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Monday, July 27, 2009

[NC] Will there ever be charges in the death of then-deputy's husband, Stacey Pollard?

Pitt County Sheriff's Lt. Michelle Pollard

From a news article earlier this month:

A Pitt County sheriff's deputy no longer is employed by the county and could lose her state law enforcement certification on morals charges. Lt. Michelle Y. Pollard, who's been at the center of civil suits in connection with her husband's 2005 death, saw her last day with the county on July 1...

On December 18th 2005 Stacey Pollard, Deputy Michelle Pollard's husband died. Michelle's story then was that she was bringing him a drink of hot chocolate and saw him floating in the pool:

...Later, after flunking the SBI polygraph given her in June 2006, she changed her story, telling investigators she had pushed her husband into the pool as a joke, then ran back into their home and locked the doors when he threatened to "get her back," according to the lawsuit... "We have a lieutenant in the sheriff's department who gave two different accounts of what happened that night," [Pitt County Commission Chairwoman Beth Ward] said. "I don't know which one is the lie... I don't think there was a formal investigation in his own department that questioned her about these two accounts." Fellow commission member Eugene James agreed. "When you change your story, that puts doubts in everybody's mind," he said...



Excerpts from some of the news in chronological order:

STACEY DEAN POLLARD GRIMESLAND
The Daily Reflector
Monday, November 21, 2005
[Excerpts] Stacey Dean Pollard, 33, died unexpectedly Friday, Nov. 18, 2005... Stacey, a native and lifelong resident of the Greenville area, was a graduate of both North Pitt High School and Pitt Community College. For many years, he worked as a licensed general contractor, owned and operated Pollard Homes, and was affiliated with S&W Foundations. He was a member of the Pitt County Home Builders Association. An avid outdoorsman, Stacey enjoyed hunting, fishing, four-wheeling and spending time with his dogs. A child at heart, he enjoyed playing with his kids and their friends as well as spending time with his family. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed by everyone. Stacey was preceded in death by his father, Max Pollard, in 2003. He is survived by his wife, Michelle Everette Pollard; son... mother... sisters... nieces... mother-in-law... and his special neighborhood children... Memorial contributions may be made to the Epilepsy Foundation 4351 Garden City Drive Landover, MD 20785-7223 or the Children's Hospital of Eastern NC, P.O. Box 6028, Greenville, NC 27834...

SHERIFF DENIES CHARGES IN SUIT
The Daily Reflector -
Erin Rickert
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
[Excerpts] Pitt County Sheriff Mac Manning on Tuesday denied allegations raised in a lawsuit claiming top officials in his office covered up the circumstances surrounding the 2005 death of a lieutenant's husband. Barbara Pollard, mother of the late Stacey Pollard, names Manning, Chief Lee Moore, Chief Rick Fisher and her daughter-in-law, Lt. Michelle Pollard, in the suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court... The 19-page lawsuit, filed July 5, states Stacey Pollard, then 33, was found by his wife Nov. 18, 2005, floating lifeless in a swimming pool at the couple's Grimesland home. A nearly month-long investigation into Pollard's death was initiated by the sheriff's office. When Pollard's family raised concerns, Manning said he sought a second investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation roughly two months later... "In this lawsuit, they allege Chief Moore and Chief Fisher did something to interfere or hinder the investigation, nothing could be further from the truth," Manning said. He said he managed the investigation and investigators reported directly to him during the first 24 hours after the incident. [Pollard family attorney David] Sutton said Tuesday the family brought the suit after discovering earlier this year that Michelle Pollard gave different accounts of her husband's death to the sheriff's investigators and the SBI. The lawsuit states Michelle Pollard told a sheriff's detective her husband was restoring a Corvette in the barn at their home. She said she was taking hot chocolate to Pollard when she saw him floating in the pool... In her SBI statement, Michelle Pollard said she pushed her husband in the pool as a joke. She saw him walking in the shallow end of the pool before running and hiding in the house. After 10-15 minutes of silence, she found him floating in the pool, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit alleges Michelle Pollard failed a lie detector test administered by the SBI. Manning said Tuesday differences in witness stories are not unusual... Sutton said Tuesday Stacey Pollard told friends he planned to end the marriage on the day of his death, and it is possible the news could have caused Michelle Pollard not to take extra measures to save her husband's life. If her SBI account is true, Sutton said, she pushed a known epileptic into a pool in winter and left him unattended... "I categorically deny that any member of this department hindered this investigation," Manning said, "and as I stated, I personally oversaw this investigation in the first 24 hours and thereafter"... [Full article here]

SBI ASKED TO RESTART PITT PROBE
The News & Observer, (Raleigh, NC)
Jim Nesbitt
Thursday, July 12, 2007
[Excerpts] A state investigation of the 2005 drowning death of a Pitt County deputy's husband remains open despite the sheriff's strong denial that two top officers had affairs with the deputy and hindered an initial inquiry. Pitt County District Attorney Clark Everett has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to do additional work on the death of Stacey Dean Pollard, said Jennifer Canada, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Justice, on Wednesday... The lawsuit alleges that she failed an SBI polygraph and later changed her account of her husband's death.... [Pitt County Sheriff Mac] Manning said the SBI report contains a "plausible explanation" for the different accounts but declined to discuss it... "I am satisfied that Lieutenant Pollard did not cause the death of her husband," Manning said. Stacey Pollard's family expressed concerns about the department's investigation in January 2006, and Manning asked the SBI to step in roughly two months later. He also said three investigations - by his office, the SBI and the state medical examiner -- had reached the same conclusion: Stacey Pollard's death was an accident... Stacey Pollard's family remains convinced there was a coverup and SBI agents should have been called immediately. They say he was on the verge of leaving his wife because of her extramarital affairs. "My brother's dead, and we don't really know what happened that night," said Lynn Pollard Sutton, his sister. "There's two versions. Is there a third?" The 19-page lawsuit claims two top deputies named as defendants -- Lee Moore and Rick Fisher -- hampered the actions of sheriff's investigators because of romantic relationships with Lt. Pollard, who was a detective at the time of her husband's death. On the night of Stacey Pollard's death, Moore denied at least three requests by Dance to bring in the SBI to investigate "one of our own," the lawsuit said. Fisher sat in every time Dance questioned Lt. Pollard, hampering the investigation, the lawsuit said... Manning said he personally investigated rumored affairs involving his two top deputies and Lt. Pollard. Both Fisher and Moore denied having affairs with Lt. Pollard... "I have investigated it, and my opinion is that it did not happen, and I had no credible evidence that it did," the sheriff said... Although her mother's lawsuit asks for substantial monetary damages, [Stacey's sister Sandy] Griffin bristles at the suggestion they're in it for the money. "Justice and the truth," she said. "The family's searching for the truth. That's what we want out of this." [Full article here]

PITT OFFICIALS PRESS SHERIFF FOR ANSWERS
The News & Observer, (Raleigh, NC)
Jim Nesbitt
Saturday, July 14, 2007
[Excerpts] Pitt County Sheriff Mac Manning needs to disclose the "plausible explanation" he believes explains why Lt. Michelle Pollard changed her story about her husband's November 2005 drowning after flunking a State Bureau of Investigation polygraph, elected officials said Friday. Pitt County Commission Chairwoman Beth Ward said the integrity of Manning's department is at stake following allegations in a civil lawsuit that two of the sheriff's top subordinates impeded the initial investigation of Stacey Pollard's death because of romantic relationships with Michelle Pollard... "We have a lieutenant in the sheriff's department who gave two different accounts of what happened that night," she said. "I don't know which one is the lie.... I don't think there was a formal investigation in his own department that questioned her about these two accounts." Fellow commission member Eugene James agreed. "When you change your story, that puts doubts in everybody's mind," he said. Lt. Pollard, who declined comment Friday and referred questions to Pitt County Attorney JoAnne Burgdorff, initially told a sheriff's investigator she was bringing a cup of hot chocolate to her husband when she found his body floating face down in the deep end of their backyard pool at their Grimesland home, according to the lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court by her husband's mother, Barbara Pollard... Later, after flunking the SBI polygraph given her in June 2006, she changed her story, telling investigators she had pushed her husband into the pool as a joke, then ran back into their home and locked the doors when he threatened to "get her back," according to the lawsuit... Stacey Pollard's family wonders why Manning didn't immediately call in the SBI to investigate a case involving one of his deputies. They also wonder why Lt. Pollard was promoted instead of disciplined for telling two different stories... The SBI didn't open its investigation until late March 2006, an N.C. Department of Justice spokeswoman said. Calling in the SBI early in cases involving a deputy or other law enforcement officer is a routine call for a sheriff or police chief who wants to make sure an investigation of "one of our own" is impartial, said Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell... [Full article here]


FAMILY FILES SUIT IN 2005 DEATH
Officially, Pitt County man drowned; cover-up suspected
The News & Observer, (Raleigh, NC)
Jim Nesbitt
Sunday, July 22, 2007
[Excerpts] ...It was Nov. 18, 2005. Stacey Pollard, a burly, boyish and easygoing contractor who learned to build homes working for his late father, was 33. At the time of his death, sheriff's investigators found no sign of foul play. An autopsy found Pollard died from drowning, with a seizure as a potential contributing factor... But an explosive and sexually explicit civil lawsuit filed July 5 in a Greenville federal court alleges Michelle Pollard, then a deputy in the Pitt County Sheriff's Office and now a lieutenant, told investigators two different stories about her husband's death. The lawsuit also combines allegations of a cover-up by law enforcement with steamy passages about group sex and extramarital affairs... Stacey Pollard's family members say they filed the lawsuit only after Pitt County District Attorney Clark Everett decided earlier this year there was insufficient evidence to press criminal charges against Michelle Pollard and let them review the SBI report... The family has also set up a Web site -- justice4stacey.com -- which includes the lawsuit... The lawsuit claims Michelle Pollard received the proceeds of a $200,000 life insurance policy well before revising her story to SBI investigators. And, it alleges, she engaged in group sex at the couple's home the day of her husband's funeral and had an affair with a married man who, public records indicate, has a lengthy criminal history in Pitt and Beaufort counties... [Pitt County Commissioner Eugene] James and other county officials are more concerned about the two stories Michelle Pollard told investigators about the night of her husband's death... James and [chairwoman of the Pitt County Board of Commissioners, Beth] Ward also wonder why [Sheriff Mac] Manning didn't immediately request an SBI investigation of Stacey Pollard's death, a move other North Carolina sheriffs say they routinely make when a case involves "one of their own" to avoid charges of bias and cover-up. Manning waited about two months to request an SBI investigation, days after a tense meeting between investigators and Stacey Pollard's family in late January 2006. SBI special agent Dwight Ransome didn't start until late March 2006, a state justice department spokeswoman said. By then, Ransome told family members, his investigation was "like hunting Easter eggs in August".... [Full article here]


FORMER POLLARD DEATH INVESTIGATOR SUES
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
[Excerpts] A former Pitt County Sheriff's Office deputy is suing the county, Sheriff Mac Manning and Chief of Investigations Lee Moore, according to documents filed at the Pitt County Courthouse. Attorneys for Paula Dance filed the suit just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, claiming the defendants caused Dance emotional distress and violated public policy during her investigation into the death of Stacey Pollard... Dance was the lead investigator in the case after Pollard drowned in the pool outside his Pactolus residence Nov. 18, 2005. Pollard is the husband of sheriff's deputy Lt. Michelle Pollard... The brief states Dance's ongoing concerns that a proper investigation could not be conducted because of the working relationship with Pollard's wife prompted interrogation and persecution from her superiors... Judge Earl Britt tossed out a case alleging sheriff's officials had a role in Pollard's death and an alleged cover-up. Plaintiff Barbara Pollard's wrongful death complaint was better suited to a state court, Britt ruled. Further, Britt denied Pollard's claim that the purported cover-up violated her civil rights.

COUNTY WANTS LAWSUIT DROPPED
The Daily Reflector
Kathryn Kennedy The Daily Reflector kkennedy@coxnc.com
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The attorney representing Pitt County in a lawsuit filed by a former sheriff's deputy asked that the allegations against the county be dismissed on Monday. Former investigator Paula Dance is suing the county, Sheriff Mac Manning and Chief of Investigations Lee Moore... [New Bern lawyer Scott] Hart argued that a county cannot be held responsible for the actions of a sheriff or his deputies... D. Bernard Alston of Henderson countered Hart's request by telling the court the county still has some control over the Sheriff's Office, especially in regards to positions and pay... The brief states Dance's ongoing concerns that a proper investigation could not be conducted because of the working relationship with Pollard's wife prompted interrogation and persecution from her superiors. The tensions forced her resignation in November 2007, the brief said. Additionally, the alleged "negligent and hostile actions" caused Dance to experience "severe emotional distress in the form of severe anxiety, paranoia, fear for her safety and well-being, and depression"...

SUIT AGAINST SHERIFF DROPPED
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
[Excerpts] A former Pitt County Sheriff's investigator [Paula Dance] suing Pitt County, Sheriff Mac Manning and Chief Lee Moore has voluntarily dismissed her case, according to courthouse documents... Attempts to reach Dance's attorney were unsuccessful.

EX-DEPUTY FILES SECOND LAWSUIT
The Daily Reflector
Kathryn Kennedy
Thursday, January 29, 2009
[Excerpts] A former investigator with the Pitt County Sheriff's Office filed another lawsuit against Sheriff Mac Manning and former chief investigator Lee Moore earlier this month - her second in less than a year's time. Paula Dance led an investigation into the death of Stacey Pollard in Nov. 2005... Pollard, the husband of fellow sheriff's deputy Lt. Michelle Pollard, drowned in the pool outside his Pactolus residence Nov. 18, 2005. It was eventually ruled an accidental death by the medical examiner. Dance alleges that Manning and Moore refused her continued requests that an outside agency investigate the death because of their working relationship with a potential suspect. She also claims the pair sheltered Michelle Pollard from any interrogation or "meaningful scrutiny." In the lawsuit filed Jan. 16, she seeks damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress, common law obstruction of justice and civil conspiracy and constructive discharge in violation of public policy... She also filed a lawsuit last March suing Pitt County, Manning and Moore on nearly identical grounds - citing emotional distress and public policy violations. Superior Court Judge Jerry R. Tillett dismissed allegations against the county that May, and Dance voluntarily dismissed the remaining suits three months later... Civil lawsuits involving Stacey Pollard continue to flood into the Pitt County Courthouse, more than three years after his death. Last January, federal Judge Earl Britt tossed out a case alleging sheriff's officials had a role in Pollard's death and an alleged cover-up....
DEPUTY FACES REVOCATION, IS NO LONGER WITH OFFICE
The Daily Reflector
Michael Abramowitz
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
[Excerpts] A Pitt County sheriff's deputy no longer is employed by the county and could lose her state law enforcement certification on morals charges. Lt. Michelle Y. Pollard, who's been at the center of civil suits in connection with her husband's 2005 death, saw her last day with the county on July 1, according to an administrator with the sheriff's office. Pollard, who led the sheriff's gang unit, was notified April 9 that probable cause was found to revoke her justice officer's certification, according to Julia A. Lohman, director of the N.C. Sheriff's Education and Training Standards Commission. The commission found that on several occasions between May and October in 2006, Pollard's personal behavior was not "of good moral character" and that she failed to meet or maintain any of the minimum employment standards required by the Sheriff's Standards Division, according to her revocation notice. On April 9, the standards division mailed notification to Pollard and Sheriff Mac Manning that "... on or about May, 2006, while holding certification as a justice officer ( Pollard ) was observed smoking marijuana on at least three occasions," both in private and in public. That spring, Pollard also participated in a wet T-shirt contest at the Sunset Bar and publicly exposed her breasts, according to the commission's findings. Pollard also reportedly exposed her breasts in public at a rodeo in July 2006, Lohman said. "The facts and circumstances surrounding these actions establish probable cause to believe that you no longer possess the good moral character required of all justice officers, according to Rule 12 NCAC 10B.0301, Minimum Standards for Justice Officers," Lohman's report to Pollard said... Pollard's appeal is scheduled to be heard Sept. 21 in Halifax by Administrative Law Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter... [Full article here]

EX-SHERIFF'S LIEUTENANT COULD LOSE CERTIFICATION; COMMISSION CITES TOPLESS PICS, SMOKING POT
witn2go News
2009.07.15
[Excerpts] A Pitt County sheriff's deputy, whose husband's death raised a lot of questions, is no longer with the department. Michelle Pollard, who headed the department's gang unit, also stands to lose her certification from the N.C. Sheriff's Education and Training Standards Commission... In 2005, Pollard's husband, Stacey, drowned in the couple's pool. His mother filed a wrongful death suit, saying the sheriff's office botched the investigation. That suit was later tossed out of federal court, but later refiled in state court and is still pending. The standards commission said there was probable cause to revoke Michelle Pollard's certification because of her personal behavior... In her appeal to the commission, Pollard says she has never smoked marijuana. She says in February Sheriff Mac Manning approached her and said someone had made allegations about her using drugs. Pollard says Manning ordered her to take a drug test, which she says she passed. In answering allegations that she was nude, Pollard said it started as a domestic violence motorcycle run. "I was trying to support this cause. However, a good deed turned into a nightmare" said Pollard. The deputy claims she was drugged after she left her beer at the bar for a short time... We asked to speak to Sheriff Mac Manning and were told he is on vacation. [Full article here]

OFFICIALLY, PITT COUNTY MAN DROWNED; COVER-UP SUSPECTED
wnct.com
By Parul Joshi
Reporter
Published: July 15, 2009
[Excerpts] Eyewitness News 9 has learned a 16 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department resigned from her job after the North Carolina Sheriff’s Commission accused her of immoral behavior. Sheriff Mac Manning says Lieutenant Michelle Pollard wants to pursue another career. The North Carolina Sheriff’s Education and Training Standards Commission told Lieutenant Michelle Pollard they questioned her moral character saying they believed her justice officer certification should be revoked. The commission certifies all officers for sheriff’s offices in the state of North Carolina. Back in April, the commission’s director Julia Lohman, told Pollard why they didn’t think she should hold the honor. In Lohman’s letter to Pollard she writes... “…you no longer possess the good moral character required of all justice officers." Sheriff Mac Manning defended and praised Pollard’s work saying she was a talented investigator and the most knowledgeable gang detective on the force. Manning also stressed that Pollard’s justice officer certification has not been revoked and that decision will be up to a judge... Her last day on the job was July 1st of this year. Controversial claims surrounded Michelle Pollard ever since her husband Stacey Pollard drowned in their pool in 2005. His mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit two years later against Michelle Pollard, Sheriff Mac Manning, former Chief Lee Moore and Chief Rick Fisher. The suit claimed investigators at the Sheriff’s Office botched the investigation into Stacey Pollard’s death because of their close-personal relationship with Michelle Pollard. In January 2008, a federal judge dismissed that lawsuit. But the claims against Michelle Pollard were dismissed “without prejudice”; leaving the possibility of another suit on that claim. Two days later Barbara Pollard filed another wrongful death lawsuit against Michelle Pollard but this time in state court. There have been no major developments or filings in that case since January of this year. [Full article here]

POLLARD STATEMENTS DENY CHARGES
The Daily Reflector,
Michael Abramowitz
Thursday, July 16, 2009
[Excerpts] A former Pitt County deputy said she was drugged prior to participating in a wet T-shirt contest and denied other charges by a state agency seeking to revoke her law enforcement certification, according to pre-hearing statements. Michelle Pollard was responding to charges brought in April by the N.C. Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission... Pollard said in the statements the wet T-shirt episode at the Sunset Bar was "a good deed turned into a nightmare." It started as an effort to support a domestic violence awareness event, but her behavior got out of hand because someone spiked her beer with drugs without her knowledge, she said. "I completely understand how this situation looks on the surface; it has been very humiliating for me personally and professionally," Pollard said... Pollard's pre-hearing statements did not address the finding that on another occasion in July 2006, she exposed her breasts for beads at an unnamed rodeo... The former deputy is scheduled to be heard Sept. 21 in Halifax by administrative law judge Melissa Owens Lassiter, daughter of Pitt County Commissioner Mark Owens Jr... [Full article here]

LAWSUIT

[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement fatality fatalities murder NORTH CAROLINA unsolved unresloved]

12 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 28, 2009

    it's about time we get some national attention on this lowlife maybe they will do a dateline on her! she is a trailerpark living POS!!

    the rookie(gvegas) from Greenville NC

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  2. AnonymousJuly 29, 2009

    The time has come for Pitt County to wake up and really see what this woman is & ALWAYS has been! I have known this woman for over 15 years & I can tell you that her history is not any better than her present! Go as far back as when she worked at North Pitt ask those students who were once kids ........That are NOW adults what went on I bet you they'd talk now! As far as her poor husband Family! I am so sorry that a good MAN got involved with such a low life as Michelle!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Bankruptcy Filing Stalls Civil Lawsuit Against Former Sheriff’s Lt.
    wnct.com
    By Parul Joshi
    Published: August 17, 2009

    Another development in a story we have been following for more than a year now. A former Pitt County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant has filed bankruptcy.
    Michelle Pollard’s husband drowned in their pool in 2005 and last year his mother, Barbara Pollard, filed a wrongful death lawsuit with the state courts against Michelle Pollard. That case was supposed to be heard in civil court today but court officials say it is at a stand-still because Michelle Pollard filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy last month. That lets wage earners work out a plan to pay off their debt. Bankruptcy court officers say she named Barbara Pollard as a creditor and that the civil case won’t resume until the bankruptcy details are worked out. Last month the SBI arrested and charged Michelle Pollard with telling a suspect that detectives were investigating her. A Pitt County Grand Jury indicted Pollard on charges of obstruction of justice and willful failure to discharge duties of her office.

    http://www2.wnct.com/nct/news/local/article/bankruptcy_filing_stalls_civil_lawsuit_against_former_sheriffs_lt/47548/

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  4. can you even think that we are still paying her.....she is on workmans comp from something that didn't even happen at work, Thanks Mac keep sticking it to us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. According to what i have read, the husband's case needs to be reopened. What kind of example does this set for the citizens of Pitt County????

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  6. I was born and raised in Pitt Co.The Sheriff's Dept.has always been involved in questionable dealings.I was at a home one afternoon when an officer drove up with the Sheriff ( not Manning)to collect money so that the people at that house could continue to sell drugs.

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  7. right now I am glad she is in jail. she was shady even at north pitt when I went there. I hope she gets all the time the forts can throw at her. and everyone that was involved gets some too. glad there is a new sheriff in town!

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  8. Justice was served today!

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  9. Excellent!!!! There's something more I'd say but I am NOT going to risk giving anyone grounds for an appeal.

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  10. She's been found guilty of negligence in Stacy's death, as she should be. As a Law Enforcement Officer, LEO, she knew, and should have administered immediately, CPR. She let him drown, and did not try to administer any First Aid, that she was trained in.

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  11. Sure hope they do reopen the criminal case.

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