ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO. (KPLR) – A St. Charles County Sheriff's deputy`s wife spoke to FOX2 Monday, about the effort to keep her husband out of prison, in an exclusive interview.
The campaign is called 'Hunt for Justice':
Deputy Chris Hunt, 38, has been convicted for his role in the arrest of a known meth-maker.
Hunt has been sentenced to 5 years for burglary -- for kicking in a drug suspect's door and beating him during the arrest.
His wife, Jesse, said the judge, jury, prosecutor, and police witnesses, all had it wrong.
'His passion for law enforcement was just unparalleled,' she said, fighting tears. 'When you believe in something and you fight to make a difference and you just have this passion, I almost feel like we`ve been betrayed.'
Jesse and Chris Hunt met in the Marine Corps where they were both MP`s.
They`ve been married 17 years and have two children: a son,4, and daughter, 9.
His police career has spanned 19 years.
A binder at their home with his commendations and qualification certificates looks like a phone book.
He`s even been awarded for saving woman having seizures as she prepared to jump from The Page Extension Bridge. He was off-duty.
'2 days after he was convicted he was mowing the neighbor`s grass,' Jesse said tearfully.
Her husband said he could not do an interview based on the advice of his attorney.
Jesse Hunt said she could not discuss specifics of the case for the same reason.
More than 3 years ago, outside of Middleton, Missouri, in Montgomery county, Hunt was one of nearly a dozen officers from nearby counties out to arrest an admitted meth-maker, inside a trailer home.
Prosecutor Nicole Volkert told Fox 2 eight officers testified in the case; Hunt did too. She said the jury didn`t believe him. Neither did she.
She said testimony at sentencing showed it was not the first time he`d beaten suspects. But she admitted he`d never been charged with a crime.
'He understands that in order to make that difference, you have to be by the book,' Jesse Hunt said.
The suspect was not seriously hurt and had a felony warrant for endangering a child while making meth. The child suffered chemical burns. The same suspect was mentioned in a Pike County Deputy`s report for allegedly shooting and nearly killing a man with a sawed-off shotgun. The suspect was never prosecuted.
Still, Hunt's headed to prison. The suspect is already out on parole.
'To send him out every day, risking that he may not come home was a risk we were willing to take. But I never thought that he would be labeled a criminal: someone that he`s dedicated to protecting the rest of us from,' Jesse Hunt said, sobbing.
Hunt`s supporters say he`s a 'by-the-book' investigator; his police record is spotless.
The 'Hunt for Justice' campaign, to overturn his conviction on appeal, has led to numerous endorsements from police organizations and tens of thousands of dollars raised for a reward for information leading to his conviction being overturned and for Hunt`s defense fund. His sheriff even put up half the money ($5,000) for Hunt`s bond.
'It just gives you faith,' his wife said.
Hunt refused a plea bargain that would have kept him out of prison. He's free on bond, working administrative duty pending appeal. The decision may still be a year away. Though county officials support him, they also agreed to pay a $70,000 civil settlement to the suspect who filed suit against Hunt and two other deputies.
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