Nick Bertram cleared: Russell County deputy returning to duty after grand jury declines indictment

As first reported by WJRS-FM 104.9, Russell County Deputy Sheriff Nick Bertram is returning to duty after a grand jury declined to indict him Tuesday, essentially clearing Bertram of all charges.

Kentucky State Police searched Bertram’s home Jan. 4, allegedly finding a marijuana pipe and small amount of marijuana inside his police cruiser. State police said they also found methamphetamine-related items suspected of being evidence from sheriff’s department investigations, a large amount of drug paraphernalia and items related to a dubious “burglary” alleged to have occurred at a welding shop with which Bertram apparently had some sort of private business relationship.

Bertram was arrested and formally charged with third-degree burglary, official misconduct, tampering with physical evidence, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bertram pleaded not guilty on Feb. 4 and, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, Russell County Attorney Kevin Shearer dropped all charges at the deputy’s Feb. 15 preliminary hearing in district court.

Shearer said at the time that he understood KSP would seek an indictment in circuit court, the higher of Kentucky’s two criminal courts, by presenting Bertram’s case to an upcoming grand jury. State police did just that on Feb. 26 and the grand jury declined to return an indictment, signifying jurors didn’t find enough probable cause to warrant moving forward with charges.

I'm a Mid-South photojournalist, Kentucky writer and digital media consultant (or eNinja™). Circle me on Google Plus at, follow me on Twitter at @surattb and Instagram me at @BillySuratt. Got a news tip or suggestion about some journalism that needs committed? Email (discretion is always guaranteed).

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