Jeff Hart

Former Cowlitz County Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Hart.

Jeffrey Wayne Hart, who admitted abusing his position as a deputy coroner to steal from a dead man’s estate, has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Hart, 44, of Castle Rock pleaded guilty last month to first-degree identity theft and official misconduct between June 6 and July 13. Charges of first-degree and second-degree possession of stolen property were dismissed.

Hart, who had a clean record before this, is being allowed to serve part of his confinement in Work Release, which allows inmates to look for employment. He was sentenced Nov. 13 and reported to jail Nov. 16.

Hart also must pay nearly $12,000 restitution to the victim’s family and serve two years’ probation.

The standard sentencing range for first-degree identity theft is three to nine months in jail.

In his guilty plea, Hart admitted stealing a debit card and PIN from the wallet of Larry Williams Sr., 65, when Hart went to Williams’ Longview apartment June 6 to conduct a routine death investigation. Williams died of natural causes. Hart admitted using Williams’ card at businesses in Longview and Kelso to make $11,963 in ATM withdrawals and fraudulent purchases between June 8 and July 13.

The theft was discovered July 16 by a member of Williams’ family.

Hart was fired from his part-time job at the coroner’s office upon his arrest. He also resigned from his job in the Kelso School District and is no longer selling real estate.

Coroner Tim Davidson did a thorough check of every one of Hart’s cases upon learning of the crime.

“We weren’t able to find any other discrepancies on the cases he was involved in,” he said Monday.


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