Hiram Lewis charged with witness intimidation
PROCIOUS, W.Va. -- A former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and West Virginia attorney general has been arrested and charged with trying to intimidate a witness.
Hiram Carson Lewis IV, 41, was arrested over the weekend on a warrant alleging he had threatened Clay County Sheriff Randy Holcomb. Holcomb is a witness against Lewis in a previous case alleging Lewis shot and wounded a man at Lewis' home in Procious.
Lewis, a lawyer and an Iraq War veteran, ran unsuccessfully for the office of attorney general in 2004 and ran unsuccessfully in the 2006 Republican primary to challenge U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. He again ran for attorney general in 2008, but was edged out in the Republican primary by Dan Greear.
According to a criminal complaint on file in Clay County Magistrate Court, Lewis went to Holcomb's camp in Procious on Oct. 28 and asked the sheriff to go to the Clay County prosecutor's office to help drop charges of malicious wounding and wanton endangerment filed against Lewis in June.
According to the criminal complaint, Lewis told the sheriff on Oct. 28 that he might have to sue over the criminal charges, and allegedly threatened to sue Holcomb as well.
Lewis then allegedly told Holcomb that the sheriff and State Police Trooper B.E. Young were the only witnesses left to testify against him in the June criminal case. A third witness, former State Police Cpl. M.L. Bailey, was shot and killed by a suspect in Wallback in August.
Lewis, who runs a Christian-based organization called Elk River Ministries, allegedly told Holcomb that Bailey had been shot "because of spiritual wrongdoing done to him," according to the criminal complaint.
Lewis said Monday in a phone interview that he wasn't trying to intimidate Holcomb. He said he went to the camp to ask the sheriff if he would put in a good word for him with the county prosecutor.
"I asked him if he was saved," Lewis said. He said he told the sheriff that Bailey didn't know when he woke up on Aug. 28 that he would be shot in the line of duty.
"We never know when we're going to meet our maker," Lewis said. "That's the only way that Bailey came up.
"There was no intimidation," he said. "I was standing there talking to him as a friend."
On June 13, Lewis was charged with wanton endangerment and malicious wounding for allegedly shooting Steven Bogart in the leg at Lewis' home in Procious.
Lewis said he shot Bogart after Bogart kicked the door in despite repeated warnings not to come into the house. Bogart said Lewis had invited him to stay at the house in exchange for carpentry work, and wasn't doing anything wrong at the time he was shot.
A Clay County grand jury indicted Lewis on the charges last month. Lewis does not believe the indictment will stand up in court.
Holcomb could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Lewis' arraignment is scheduled for Friday.
Reach Rusty Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1215.