BENTON — The former lieutenant over the criminal investigation division of the Saline County sheriff's office pleaded innocent Monday to charges of delivery of a controlled substance and illegal use of a communication facility.
Michael Frost entered the pleas to the charges, both Class C felonies, during a brief hearing before Saline County Circuit Judge Gary Arnold. It was Frost's first appearance in circuit court after charges were handed down in May against him and two other former sheriff's office officials: ex-sheriff Bruce Pennington and former chief deputy of finance JoNell Mallory.
Frost is accused of providing drugs to a woman who was working as a confidential informant. According to a probable cause affidavit, police were watching the woman's home on one occasion last year when the informant set up a meeting with Frost by text message. He arrived at the residence in a sheriff's office vehicle, met with the informant on the porch and left a few minutes later, the affidavit said. The document alleges Frost dropped off two white tablets later identified as Oxycodone pills.
In an interview with investigators, the informant reported she had received pills from Frost on previous occasions and that "Frost knew if [she] got pills from him Frost in turn would get sex from" her.
Frost spoke only briefly during the hearing Monday, saying he understood the charges against him and was entering the innocent pleas. He did not respond to a reporter's questions as he left the courthouse.
In an emailed statement, Frost's attorney, Parker Jones, said Frost entered the innocent plea "because he is in fact not guilty."
"Mr. Frost has a long and distinguished service in law enforcement," Jones said. "As a former law enforcement officer and veteran, he understands the process. He respects the judicial process and asks for patience in allowing the process to run its course and not to rush to judgment. He is confident that after all the evidence is presented, a jury will know what he already knows: He is not guilty of the charges which have been filed against him."
Arnold set an Aug. 14 court date to consider motions including a request for a change of venue and said he would likely set a trial date at that point.
Pennington and Mallory are due in court for second appearances next week after entering innocent pleas before Arnold last month. Each face felony charges of abuse of public trust and theft of property.