Game Warden Indicted

Reported by Henry Graff
June 12, 2007

A state game warden has been indicted by a Greene County grand jury for the shooting death of a teenager in January.

16-year-old Allen Cochran was shot to death by a game warden on January 24. Police were trying to stop him because they thought he might have another teen with him who had been reported missing.

24-year-old Robert Ham, III, had been assigned to Greene County and was helping deputies that night. Investigators say Ham fired after Cochran tried to run him over with his car.

Ham is still currently employed with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in a non-law enforcement role.

Colonel G. Michael Bise with the department released this statement: "We are deeply disturbed by the indictment of Officer Rob Ham. While we are not privy to the full state police investigation, our administrative review indicates that Ham reacted appropriately to a real threat and in fact was injured by the actions of another in the carrying out of that threat. This young officer was simply acting in response to a request for help by another agency, and indeed in aid to a young female that information at that time indicated may have been in danger. We look forward to the facts of this matter receiving full and impartial judicial review."

Tuesday, the grand jury charged Ham with voluntary manslaughter. The indictment means there is enough evidence for Ham to go to trial. The commonwealth's attorney was waiting for evidence from the state crime lab to return before Ham was charged.

"Obviously, there were certain facts in the case that must have given the grand jury some concern. I don't know if the ballistic test was the issue that they were concerned about," stated commonwealth attorney Ron Morris.

With the involuntary manslaughter charge, Ham faces up to 10 years in prison.