Former trooper sentenced

A former Ohio State Highway Patrol Commander found guilty of theft and still facing federal charges of cyberstalking and deprivation of rights under color of law, will spend the next month in the Delaware County Jail after sentencing Friday.

William P. Elschlager, 48, of 305 Masonic Park, Devola, appeared for sentencing in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Friday and was sentenced to 30 days jail, three years of community control in lieu of a 24-month prison sentence, a $1,000 fine and 200 hours of community service.

“Mr. Elschlager will be our guest until Feb. 19,” said Assistant Prosecutor Kyle Kohrer, who was the lead on the case for Delaware County. “No one is above the law. Mr. Elschlager was a trusted law enforcement officer in Delaware County, and he manipulated that trust to steal a firearm from an evidence locker.”

Elschlager’s Delaware case, resulting in three guilty counts of theft, all third-degree felonies, stemmed from items found in his home after a search in relation to a stalking case of a former colleague’s wife in Marietta.

“The theft charges Mr. Elschlager was found guilty of were affiliated with a gun that had been in evidence during the time he was a patrolman at the Delaware County Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien. “The gun was catalogued by Mr. Elschlager as having been returned to the owner.”

Though sentencing was not as stingent as Kohrer said he had hoped — Elschlager was facing up to three years in prison for the thefts– if Elschlager violates the terms of parole he could be sent to prison for two years.

“And the feds can send him to prison without any regards to our case if he’s found guilty (on the federal charges,)” he said.

In Marietta, Elschlager, a lieutenant of the patrol, was terminated as the post commander in February 2016, after accusations of stalking surfaced.

Local charges were dropped on the stalking case last year but were followed soon thereafter by federal charges. Elschlager will next appear March 5 at 9 a.m. before Judge Michael H. Watson for trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. He faces up to five years in prison and three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted of cyberstalking and an additional year in prison if convicted of deprivation of rights under color of law.

Elschlager was a trooper for the highway patrol since 1997 and worked as a sergeant at the Marietta post from May of 2014 to July of 2015 before being promoted to commander. He was dismissed from the patrol on Feb. 1, 2016.