Columbus

Columbus 

LARRY MAYER, Gazette Staff

A former Stillwater County weed district coordinator who was fired for his use of county equipment has pleaded not guilty to unrelated theft charges in Cascade County.

William Patterson entered his plea on Dec. 3 in Cascade County District Court, where he appeared by phone from Texas. He faces a felony count of theft.

The theft charge stems from an investigation in 2014, when he was fired as the supervisor for the Cascade County weed and mosquito district. Investigators traced missing county property, including vehicle tires and an air tank, to Patterson after he left the job.

The next hearing in the case is set for March 21. A trial is tentatively set for April 3.

Patterson still faces allegations from Stillwater County, where he took a job as coordinator for the weed control district in February 2015. In June of this year, he was placed on leave as an investigation was launched into his use of county equipment to spray private land belonging to Stillwater County Commissioner Dennis Shupak.

Amid the investigation, county officials fired Patterson on Oct. 21.

Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde did not return an inquiry about potential charges related to the investigation there.

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General Assignment Reporter

Reporter for The Billings Gazette.