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Beaver County Former Sheriff Had Inmates Remodel His Home

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BEAVER, Utah (AP) -- A former Beaver County sheriff hired to supervise jail inmates on community projects because he needed health insurance has resigned.

Ken Yardley, who didn't seek re-election in 2006, is being investigated by the FBI for using inmates to work on his house in 2000.

Looking for a new job, Yardley was hired by new Sheriff Cameron Noel at $13 an hour to accompany inmates while they pick up litter, build baseball fields and maintain parks. The job was reported this week by news media.

"He was down and I tried to help him out," Noel said. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out." Yardley did not immediately return a phone message Friday.

The FBI said it still is investigating his use of jail inmates to remodel his home in 2000. A year ago, inmates spoke publicly about stripping wallpaper, pulling up carpet and moving furniture.

Yardley offered to quit while admitting to county commissioners that inmates worked at his home. They declined, however, to accept his resignation. He didn't seek a sixth term.

"He's never had a trial. It's all innuendo," said Beaver Mayor Leonard Foster, who agreed with the decision to hire Yardley.

Foster said inmates under his supervision "really put their hearts" into their work. Noel said he was trying to be compassionate when he hired Yardley. "He recently had a massive heart attack and he needed a job and health insurance," the sheriff said. "I looked at it and said, 'This guy deserves a chance.' It would have been different if he had shot somebody or murdered somebody and I put a gun back in his hand," Noel said.

------ Information from: The Spectrum,

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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