The state Attorney General says the sheriff in southeast Missouri’s Mississippi County has been ousted, after Friday night’s inmate death at the county jail in Charleston.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley briefs reporters about the Hutcheson case in Jefferson City on May 10, 2017 (Brian Hauswirth photo}

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office filed 18 felony counts earlier this year against Mississippi County Sheriff Cory Hutcheson. Hawley says an inmate died Friday night at the county jail in Charleston, after an altercation that the AG says Hutcheson was directly involved in.

Hawley held a Wednesday news conference in Jefferson City, saying that Sheriff Hutcheson has been ousted by the court.

“We have sought a quo warranto it’s called, and the judge granted that on a preliminary basis last (Tuesday) night,” Hawley says. “And so he (Hutcheson) is currently ousted. Now he will formally have a chance to make his case and try to get reinstated.”

Hawley says inmate Tory Sanders died Friday evening, adding that the death happened after Hutcheson’s license as sheriff had already been suspended.

Hawley says Sanders is black and Hutcheson is white, and that the Justice Department and FBI have been alerted.

AG Hawley did not have details on Wednesday about what Sanders had been arrested for on Friday morning.

Hawley will travel to Charleston Thursday morning to get briefed and plans a 4 p.m. news conference in Jefferson City, when he returns.

During Wednesday’s news conference at the Missouri Attorney General’s office, Hawley addressed Sanders’ family in Tennessee.

“I am deeply sorry for your loss, and I pledge to you that my office will bring the full force of the law to bear to see that justice is done in this case,” says Hawley.

There were about a dozen reporters in the room for that news conference, and several southeast Missouri reporters asked Hawley questions on the phone.

A “quo warranto” essentially challenges someone’s right to hold an office.

Hawley tells Missourinet a quo warranto is an “extraordinary motion”, adding that he believes it’s been nearly two decades since the Missouri Attorney General’s office brought a quo warranto motion against a law enforcement official.

Hawley says Sanders was involved in two altercations with Mississippi County jail personnel on Friday evening, and that Hutcheson directed the second altercation.

In early April, the Attorney General’s office filed criminal charges against Sheriff Hutcheson in two cases. Those charges include assault, robbery, forgery and tampering.

Hawley says it’s unclear what Hutcheson was doing at the jail Friday night.


Click here to listen to Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s full 12-minute press conference on May 10, 2017 in Jefferson City: