Coroner's hearing postponed

A plea agreement between suspended York County Coroner Doug McKown and state prosecutors has been postponed indefinitely, the state attorney general's office said this week.

The announcement came via an e-mail from attorney general spokesman Mark Plowden. The hearing was originally scheduled for Monday.

"There is no court action pertaining to Doug McKown on Monday," the e-mail states. "It is unknown when the time will be rescheduled. As I have advised, there is nothing at all set in stone about this case. Because things have been reported that are essentially speculation (at best), this office is not discussing anything about this case beyond potential court dates at this time."

When asked why McKown's court appearance was delayed, Plowden sent a one-word e-mail response: "scheduling."

McKown declined to comment on his postponed plea.

Last month, Plowden said in an e-mail that the 38-year-old McKown is expected to plead guilty to misconduct in office, a misdemeanor offense.

He would not elaborate on what would happen to the three drug charges that McKown was indicted on last year, except to say that the final disposition of all charges would be handled in court.

McKown was suspended from office on July 21, 2006, a day after a grand jury indicted him on charges of distribution of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a prescription drug.

The indictments stem from a May 2006 incident in which police say they have a video that shows McKown watching as his former girlfriend, Erin Jenkins, makes a drug deal in York.

Police informants claim McKown gave Jenkins money to buy cocaine and Ecstasy, used the drugs himself and stored cocaine at his Clover home, according to a search warrant.

The suspension severed McKown from office until the charges are resolved.

Amid the struggles of his criminal case, McKown also dealt with unrelated ethics violations.

McKown admitted the violations in January, moments before his state Ethics Commission hearing was to begin. He later signed a consent order, admitting to four violations of using his public office for personal gain and using his county vehicle for noncoroner business.

The Ethics Commission issued McKown a public reprimand and fined him $1,000.