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Former Athens-Clarke coroner pleads not guilty to vandalism charge

Bobby Tribble

By Joe Johnson

Former Athens-Clarke County coroner Bobby Tribble last week pleaded not guilty to an allegation he regularly threw items on the truck of a man at an Athens fitness center where both he and the victim were members,

At his Aug. 29 arraignment in Athens-Clarke County State Court, Tribble pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass to property, according to court records.

Tribble allegedly caused less than $500 in damages to the other man’s truck, court records indicate.

According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, the incidents began in November 2018 when a member of Athens Health & Fitness noticed that someone had been throwing items such as gum and banana peels on the hood of his truck while parked at the West Broad Street facility.

After his membership expired the victim began using another fitness center until April of this year, at which time someone again began throwing things on his truck, according to a police report the victim filed on April 30.

In the report, the 64-year-old Colbert resident said he attempted to “alleviate the problem by parking in different locations at the fitness center but that did not work, according to the report.

The victim then purchased a dashboard video camera which, on the evening of April 15, recorded a white male throwing a liquid on his truck. According to the police report, the fitness center’s manager subsequently identified Tribble as the offender in the video and when the manager confronted Tribble the former coroner claimed he accidentally spilled the liquid on the victim’s truck, According to police, the victim said he did not know why Tribble had been targeting his vehicle

Tribble, 66, was arrested July 9 on a warrant and released from custody on a $1,300 surety bond.

The alleged vandalism occurred less than two years after Tribble completed a federal sentence for admittedly stealing five guns from Franklin Gun Shop on Atlanta Highway while employed as a seasonal worker there in December 2014, according to court records.

In a negotiated agreement, Tribble pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a stolen firearm, and U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal ordered Tribble to serve 10 months in prison and two years of supervised release and to surrender his certification as a Georgia police officer. In addition to serving as coroner, Tribble had been a police officer in Athens and a captain with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. He formerly was an instructor at the Northeast Georgia Police Academy.

On the criminal trespass charge, Tribble is scheduled for an Oct. 17 calendar call, which when a judge requires prosecuting and defense attorneys to appear before the court so that trials and other proceedings can be scheduled.

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