Trial of Wagner's ex-chief moved to MitchellJim Chaney, once top cop, accused of covering up girlfriend’s meth use.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
WAGNER — The trial for the former Wagner police chief accused of covering up his girlfriend’s methamphetamine use has been moved to Mitchell.
Magistrate Judge Pat Kiner signed an order Sept. 19 moving the trial for Jim Chaney, 44, from Charles Mix County to Davison County.
Chaney’s court-appointed attorney George Johnson, of Gregory, requested the venue change and prosecutors did not object.
Chaney is accused of using a storage unit at the Wagner Police Department to store needles his girlfriend, Charline Cournoyer, apparently used to take methamphetamine.
He was indicted July 25 and charged with one count of misprision of a felony, which means he allegedly had knowledge of someone who committed a felony and either concealed his knowledge or did not immediately report it to authorities. He faces a maximum of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor.
Chaney resigned from his position as Wagner police chief in early August.
The trial, which is scheduled to begin in October, was moved, Kiner’s order says, because Chaney could not receive a fair trial in Charles Mix County because he arrested a “large number” of residents and played a role in several “drug-related tragedies” in the area.
Specifically, Kiner’s order says Chaney’s arrest of Taylor Cournoyer, 21, and Laurie Cournoyer, 28, has been “well publicized and a source of local outrage.”
A 2-year-old girl, Rielee Lovell, died in a tribal housing project in Wagner while she was in the care of the couple, who were allegedly using methamphetamine and other illegal drugs around the time of the girl’s death.
The Cournoyers are scheduled to appear in court in October in Charles Mix County.