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Ex-Princeton police officer sentenced to home confinement

By Staff reports

PRINCETON, W.Va. -- A former Princeton police officer who pleaded guilty to a bribery charge in October was sentenced to up to five years on home confinement.

Christopher Winkler, 27, had faced up to 10 years in prison on the charge. In October, Winkler pleaded guilty to meeting a 17-year-old boy in the parking lot of a Princeton supermarket in March 2011 and trying to get the youth to perform oral sex to pay off a debt. Winkler, a former Princeton police officer, was allegedly in uniform at the time.

Mercer Circuit Judge William Sadler gave Winkler a 10-year suspended sentence on Monday, instead sentencing the former officer to up to five years of home confinement, according to assistant Mercer County prosecutor George Sitler. The sentence will be re-evaluated at the end of the first year.

Sitler said prosecutors agreed to the lighter sentence because there was no evidence of actual sexual contact between the pair.

Winkler first made news in April 2010, when he was knocked unconscious during a training exercise at the West Virginia State Police Academy in Institute. Winkler's mother said another instructor had to pull two troopers off of Winkler after they allegedly kept hitting him after he was down. Winkler was involved in a multiple-assailant training scenario at the time.

Both then-Gov. Joe Manchin and Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants requested investigations into the incident. Neither investigation found fault with the instructors' actions.


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