Criminal charges dropped against Benton County sheriff

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) — Criminal charges have been dismissed against Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher after prosecutors said detectives need more time to investigate the case.

The 56-year-old Hatcher was charged a week ago with felony witness tampering and fourth degree assault, a gross misdemeanor.

The Tri-City Herald says an order to dismiss the charges was filed Wednesday.

The case against Hatcher stems from domestic abuse allegations by his estranged wife. The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can be refiled at a later date.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla, who is handling the case, wrote that further investigation by the Washington State Patrol is required before the case can proceed.

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Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com