Controversy surrounds Ind. sheriff candidate


by Alex Schuman

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 1:26 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 5:39 AM

MARENGO, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Outside Marengo, Ind.,  you can find Krystal Smith and her kids playing with their five dogs.  If you look closely at one of her four pit bulls you will also find some scars.

Krystal Smith's pit bull, Journey, was shot by her neighbor David Wayne Bullington. 

“I was about to get eat up by a pit bull on my own property,” Bullington said.

No one denies the dog was on Bullington’s land, but Krystal said he did not need to use the gun.  In the police report, Bullington’s wife said  he went back inside the house to get a gun.  Krystal said she does not think her dog could have been that dangerous if Bullington had time to go inside.

According to the police report, William Smith, Krystal’s husband, said Bullington pulled up to his house in a vehicle after he shot the dog.  He said Bullington was waving and pointing a handgun as he stood next to his kids.

“He was yelling at the top of his lungs,” Krystal Smith said.

According to the police report, Peggy Bullington, David’s wife, told police Bullington did not point or wave a gun and said he shot the dog by accident.

“He told my husband he was just trying to scare him.  Well, you know, I don’t really believe that cause he’s a police officer, too,” Krystal Smith said.

Bullington carries a gun on behalf of Marengo, Ind. He serves as a reserve town marshal.  Diabetes cost him one of his legs, and left him unable to meet the requirements of a regular officer.  The town then made special arrangements to make Bullington a legal, but unpaid, town marshal.

“Everybody does a great job,” James Harrington, Marengo Police Chief, said. “We are a part-time law enforcement agency.  We have to manage with what we have.”

Bullington and his wife have served the county for years. He was elected Crawford County Coroner last year after a contested recount, and said he is running for Crawford County Sheriff next year.

Allegations of shooting the Smith's dog is not the only controversy surrounding Bullington. Pictures have surfaced of Bullington wearing black face, dressed as a pimp at a Halloween party.

“I mean I didn't do anything to… go against the black people or anything,” Bullington said.  “I mean it was a Halloween party, a local Halloween party.  Instead of wearing a mask I put black stuff on.  It wasn't to put down any black people or anything racist.”

"I don't have anything against the black people or any different people.  Any Mexicans, or anybody," Bullington said.

People who are close to the couple think these accusations are part of a political attack.

“I have not found anything that point towards Wayne being discriminative toward anybody,” Harrington said.

A special prosecutor in Monroe County is investigating the case involving Bullington and his neighbor.  The vet bills for Journey cost the Smiths more than $1,500.  They filed a civil suit to get Bullington to pay those bills.  A judge ruled that since the dog came onto to Bullington’s property he does not have to pay.

Krystal Smith has since turned a fenced in area for chickens into a place where her dogs can stay in the yard.  Journey healed, but is now afraid of people, and in Krystal's opinion, poses more of a risk to strangers now - than before Bullington fired his gun.

"She was not like that before she got shot,” Smith said.  “Now she's a totally different dog."

It is still unclear if Bullington will face charges.  The special prosecutor has not finished his investigation.