CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Jefferson County Sheriff Robert E. Shirley, who is charged with violating a suspect's civil rights, has resigned and is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate today for a change of plea hearing.
County Commissioner Patsy Noland told media outlets that Shirley came to her home Friday evening and gave her a handwritten resignation letter. She said the resignation was effective immediately.
Shirley is accused of kicking and stomping Mark Daniel Haines after a December 2010 police chase and falsifying records during a subsequent investigation.
Haines is serving a 19-year sentence for bank robbery. Court documents say he suffered scrapes and bruises on his face and back during the beating, as well as a hemorrhage in his right eye, and a broken nose, rib and eye socket.
A court order filed Friday shows Shirley agreed to be placed on home detention and electronic monitoring while the case is pending. He also agreed to take a leave of absence and to turn over his registered firearms to the appropriate agency.
Shirley had been free on bond since he pleaded not guilty in June 2012 following his indictment.
"I cannot comment on the changed circumstances of his release except to acknowledge that recently disclosed new evidence compelled Mr. Shirley to reassess his decision to contest the charges made against him,'' Shirley's attorney, Kevin D. Mills, told The Herald-Mail (http://bit.ly/11t7DkO ) of Hagerstown, Md.
Shirley had been scheduled to stand trial beginning Jan. 22 but U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey postponed the trial last week. His lawyers sought the postponement after prosecutors filed public documents with proposed evidence that they said shows Shirley had abused his power before -- and gotten away with it.
A separate civil lawsuit stemming from the alleged assault is scheduled for trial this fall.
Shirley faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of both charges.