Former Edmonson County Sheriff Billy Joe Honeycutt pleaded guilty Thursday in Madison Circuit Court to two charges stemming from unlawful firearms training that have been amended down from the original 17 similar charges.

Honeycutt removed his glasses Thursday to wipe away tears during his pre-trial conference in front of Madison Circuit Judge Julia Hylton Adams.

By pleading guilty, he has given up his right to appeal and the right to have a trial by jury.

Honeycutt, 47, of Park City, pleaded guilty to misrepresentation of having conducted training courses and providing incomplete firearms training — both Class D felonies, each punishable by one to five years in prison upon conviction.

He resigned in late July as Edmonson County sheriff.

The charges were brought in Madison County because the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT), located on the Eastern Kentucky University campus, is the complaining witness.

A concealed deadly weapon license is issued by the Kentucky State Police headquarters in Frankfort. The Department of Criminal Justice Training certifies the training necessary to obtain the license.

Honeycutt committed the offense of misrepresentation when he allegedly “represented to the Department of Criminal Justice Training that he provided firearms training to Gregory R. Vincent and Carolyn Ann Vincent on July 24, 2004, in Edmonson County when, in fact, he provided no training,” the indictment states.

In December 2006, Honeycutt also allegedly told the DOCJT that he “provided firearms training required by statute and regulation to an applicant training course conducted in Bee Springs, Ky., ... when in fact he failed to provide the required training,” the indictment states.

Honeycutt was indicted in December of last year by a Madison County grand jury for 17 Class D felony charges, and later plead not guilty in April.

Based on his original plea of not guilty, Madison Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith and local attorney Jerry Gilbert, who represented Honeycutt, had a debate in July before Judge Adams as to where the jury trial should be conducted.

“The indictment alleges that he either did not provide training, or provided incomplete training to people in Edmonson County,” Gilbert said. “He completed the forms in Edmonson County, all of the acts that were allegedly committed by him occurred in Edmonson County.”

Smith made it clear that a concealed deadly weapon license cannot officially be issued without paperwork being sent to the DOCJT in Richmond.

The alleged misrepresentation occurred when the paperwork arrived at the DOCJT, Smith said.

“He can teach a class and fill out a form, but if he doesn’t send the paperwork in, nobody is going to get a license,” Smith said. “That misrepresentation is a key step that allows them to get a license.”

It was decided that the trial would be conducted in Madison Circuit Court, however, there will not be a trial based on Honeycutt’s guilty plea.

Gilbert proposed the minimum sentence Thursday for Honeycutt, which would be to serve one year on each count. Smith did not object to Gilbert’s request.

Honeycutt’s official sentencing will be Friday, Oct. 17, at 1:30 p.m. in Madison Circuit Court.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@ richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 234.

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