• Ex-DeKalb schools COO sentenced to 15 years, ex-husband 8 years in corruption case


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County judge has handed down stiff sentences for the defendants in the DeKalb Schools corruption case -- including the former superintendent, who got sent to jail despite a plea deal.

    Former Superintendent Crawford Lewis had reached a deal with prosecutors that didn't involve jail time earlier this year.

    On Monday, the judge rejected it.

    Channel 2 Action News crews were there as a deputy handcuffed Lewis and took him into custody.

    During the corruption trial, Lewis was the star witness, but the judge ignored the deal with prosecutors.

    She also gave lengthy sentences to the other two convicted in the case.

    Former school building contract executive Pat Reid, officially the chief operating officer, and her ex-husband, architect Tony Pope, hoped for lenience from the judge as their attorneys called character witnesses to the stand.

    Pope broke down in tears as he heard a plea from a longtime friend.

    "The school system has benefited from what he's done. And in my personal opinion, he doesn't deserve to be where he is right now," witness Julian Houston said.

    "I would request your sentencing be lenient and return him home to me, his family and community," said Sharon Pope, Tony Pope's wife.

    The judge also heard from supporters of Reid, who was convicted of illegally steering more than $1 million in building contracts to Pope's architecture firm.

    "I don't think she did anything to harm the district or the kids of the community," said former co-worker Tiffany Nolan.

    Prior to sentencing, the judge rebuked the former couple for their criminal scheme.

    "It was calculated and remarkably stupid by two very intelligent people," said Judge Cynthia Becker.

    The judge then sentenced Reid to 15 years in prison. Pope got eight years and was ordered to pay $172,000 in restitution.

    Lewis, who had cut a deal for only a year's probation, was shocked when the judge ordered him to jail for a year.

    "This was on his watch. He stood by and then hindered, interfered and tried to stop the completion of a rightful, lawful investigation," Becker said.

    Reid's attorney asked if the judge could grant bond until Reid begins her prison term, but the judge denied the request.

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