June 16, 2024

Two Enter Guilty Pleas, Convicted in Assault Incident of Meigs County Sheriff

From left, Clinton Bailey, and Tanner Walker in the Meigs County Court of Common Pleas prior to their guilty pleas and sentencing. Photo by Carrie Rose.

Two Enter Guilty Pleas, Convicted in Assault Incident of Meigs County Sheriff

POMEROY, Ohio – Two people have been convicted following a case involving the assault of the Meigs County Sheriff.

In a plea hearing and sentencing on April 1, Tanner Walker, 25, of Cambridge, Ohio appeared along with Clinton Bailey, 56, of Long Bottom, in regards to an incident that happened on May 15, 2021. The pair appeared before Judge Linton D. Lewis, Jr. The incident occurred at property of Sheriff Keith Wood. Walker had been originally indicted on three counts, one count first degree misdemeanor Assault, one count of first degree Felonious Assault, and one count of first degree misdemeanor Resisting Arrest. Bailey was originally indicted with four counts, one count of fourth degree felony Assault, one count of first degree misdemeanor Resisting Arrest, one count of second degree misdemeanor Obstructing Official Business, and one count of fourth degree misdemeanor Criminal Trespass. Those charges were amended according to a plea deal.

Walker entered a guilty plea and was convicted of assault and resisting arrest. The count of Felonious Assault was dismissed. Bailey entered a guilty plea and was convicted of Obstructing Official Business and Criminal Trespass. The counts of Assault and Resisting Arrest were dismissed. While both were sentenced to time in jail, most of the time was suspended for Walker and all was suspended for Bailey. Both were sentenced to two years of probation, pay court costs and have no contact with the victim or the victim’s property. Walker is permitted to work out the days he serves in jail with his probabtion officer so as not to interfere with his job. Also dismissed was a county court charge of Driving Under the Influence on Walker.

Walker was involved in assaulting Sheriff Wood at his farm and Bailey was also involved, coming later to the incident.

Background of the Incident Leading to May 15

During the hearing, the victim in the case, Sheriff Wood, read from a prepared statement to the court. He alluded to the ongoing issues he has had with Bailey. On Veterans Day 2017, the Department of Agriculture executed seizure of a bear owned by Bailey. Bailey at the time, and repeatedly through social media and other outlets has maintained that Sheriff Wood was behind the action to have the bear removed. According to the Department of Agriculture which spoke to the Meigs Independent Press at the time of the incident, this was not the case and the fact was they were the agency choosing and behind the move to remove the bear because of license violations Bailey had committed. Bailey subsequently lost his license for those violations and possession of the bear. Sheriff Wood was present for the raid, but was there only as it was occurring in his jurisdiction. It was a Department of Agriculture action and investigation. Bailey, however, has maintained that Sheriff Wood was responsible, even though that is not factual. It is from those lenses that Bailey has viewed Sheriff Wood since, according to the victim’s statement.

Bailey had used the bear for what he called training with the dogs to hunt bears. The state claimed it was bear baiting, animal fighting. Bailey was indicted with multiple charges on animal fighting, but was convicted of one count of a first degree misdemeanor of Dangerous Wild Animal Prohibitions. The business he had income according to Bailey’s family statements of $50,000 a year. With the loss of the bear, the income was lost.

Bailey used his issues with Meigs County’s Sheriff to then be very vocal during the election following the seizure of the bear against a proposed new jail facility. Bailey at the time made comments concerning Sheriff Wood and about the property tax increase with the proposed jail, even though Bailey at the time owed tens of thousands of dollars for his own property taxes because for some parcels he had not paid in years. Bailey has had issues with county over his property taxes and currently (as of this publication) still owes, but has paid a large portion of it down.

Beyond the sheriff having issues, there have been disparaging statements concerning the Wood family throughout. All of this led to the incident on May 15.

“I have become a whipping post and still am to this day,” Sheriff Wood said on the stand.

May 15, 2022

Clinton Bailey’s daughter, Breanna, along with Walker had been riding past the Wood farm repeatedly on an ATV. Wood was at his farm along with his wife, daughter and brother-in-law. The pair had been speeding up and down the road, driving in a wreckless manner three times. Wood did not realize who it was, just stepped out to tell the individuals on the ATV to slow down because of the way they were driving. At that point Breanna Bailey reportedly began yelling at Wood, and identified him as sheriff using explicit language. Wood had identified himself as law enforcement, specifically as the Meigs County Sheriff as did Breanna Bailey with her own comments. Wood tried to question Walker as he appeared to be intoxicated. Walker refused to comply. Walker engaged Sheriff Wood physically, assaulting him. The pair ended up scuffling into a barb wire fence.

Breanna Bailey yelled she was getting her father and returned with Clinton Bailey. He was on his way to where Walker was with Sheriff Wood. Walker was attempting to leave, but was being detained by Sheriff Wood until a other law enforcement could arrive. Clinton Bailey arrived to take Walker with him, trespassing on Wood’s property. Clinton Bailey was told to leave the property by Sheriff Wood. A neighbor ran to assist Sheriff Wood with the situation. The neighbor struck Clinton Bailey, knocking him out and keeping him from reaching Sheriff Wood.

Meigs County Sheriff’s Office deputies along with the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to the scene. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident.

Victim’s Impact Statement

Sheriff Wood commented on how he had heard victim statements during his 45 year career in law enforcement, but did think he would be in the same position. He said he had tried to serve and give back to the community. During those years of service, he considered his farm which had been in the family for 130 years to be a sacred space, a place of safety away from the job of law enforcement. On the day of the incident, Wood’s teenage daughter witnessed the assault. She believed that her father was going to be killed in front of her and ran to her grandmother’s house, telling her grandmother that was what was happening, according to the victim’s statement. Wood stated that his daughter has not felt safe following that day and they have added on to their barn to make her feel more secure directly due to the actions of Walker and Bailey that day. “It is sad to see your daughter scared of things,” Wood said from the stand.

During his statement, Wood stressed, “Anger cannot keep going,” stating he has always tried to teach anger is not the answer throughout his career, especially when working with youth. He noted hate and anger are not a good environment for children. Wood repeatedly stated the need for peace in this situation between his family and the Baileys.

“Never have I had this level of retaliation that this has had in my 45 years of law enforcement,” Wood said referring to the incident which ignited it all with Clinton Bailey with the bear. Wood again restated that he had nothing to do with that and it was the Department of Agriculture. Wood said he can take it when it is directed at him, but not with his family being targeted.

Wood sustained injuries from the assault. He had multiple cuts from the barb wire and had injuries to his shoulder and hands.

During Wood’s victim impact statement, Clinton Bailey could be heard laughing, seen smiling and commenting to his attorney. Walker remained solemn and silent.