Davis sentenced to probation 

Published 11:06 pm Sunday, February 24, 2019

Former Tryon Fire Chief sentenced Thursday morning 


ASHEVILLE—Former Tryon Fire Chief and Town Manager Joey Davis will spend the next year on probation for a federal charge of misprision.  

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Davis pleaded guilty last October and had his sentencing hearing Thursday morning in Asheville.  

He was also fined $100 and court costs.  

Davis was charged federally after it was discovered he used town credit cards to pay former Tryon Commissioner Roy Miller’s personal bills in 2016 to the tune of $1,827, according to federal records.  

Miller resigned his position as commissioner in June 2017 and later pleaded guilty in federal court. The town fired Davis in January 2016.  

Miller was originally charged with conspiracy to commit federal program fraud, federal program fraud, extortion under color of official right and witness tampering. Miller was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison. Davis was originally charged with conspiracy to commit federal program fraud. The two were charged in April 2016.  

Davis’ misprision charge he pleaded guilty to is defined as having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States and conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority.  

Davis’ attorney, Stephen Lindsay, said that if Davis had told a judge or federal officer after he used the town funding to pay Miller’s bills, it would not have been a crime.  

The charge could have meant Davis spent up to six months in federal prison, but the federal prosecutor requested Davis only serve probation because of his cooperation in the case.  

According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, submitted by Assistant United State’s Attorney Richard Lee Edwards, Davis rendered complete and substantial cooperation to law enforcement agents and to the United States Attorney’s Office in their investigation.  

“This cooperation included his preserving and handing over his stored electronic communications and other records,” Edwards said. “He also agreed to wear a concealed recording device and to meet on two occasions with the co-defendant and main subject of this investigation, Tryon Town Councilman Leroy Miller.”  

Edwards goes on to say Davis recorded inculpatory statements by Miller, including Miller’s instructions to destroy evidence and Miller’s admission that he had already done the same thing to evidence in Miller’s possession.  

“Davis was fully candid and cooperative at all times with the government, starting with his very first interview with an SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) agent,” Edwards said. “He was also prepared to testify if Mr. Miller had gone to trial, and the government believes he would have been a very credible witness.”  

In Lindsay’s memorandum to the court, he said Davis’ case is rare and unusual involving the misconduct of public officials.  

“As revealed in the original indictment, Miller used his position on the town council to leverage and extort money and other things of value from various members of the public, including Mr. Davis,” Lindsay said. “Mr. Davis made numerous payments to Miller (over) the years until he had exhausted his personal funds. Out of fear for what Miller could do to him, Davis paid some of Miller’s personal funds using Tryon funds and/or credit.”  

Lindsay went on to say that Davis was not the only individual who Miller was leveraging for money and that local officials were aware that Miller was using his position of power for his own financial gain. The federal documents listed several letters of support for Davis from area people and officials, including from a former councilperson. The former councilperson said that local officials were aware of what was occurring, saying that Miller was “blackmailing” Davis.