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Clay County sheriff resigns as federal plea hearing nears

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Clay County Sheriff Miles J. "Mike" Slack submitted a letter of resignation Friday amid accusations that he hacked his ex-wife's work computer.

Slack is expected to plead guilty Tuesday during a plea hearing before U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver. He is charged with one count of interception and disclosure of wire or oral communications, a federal felony carrying up to five years in prison.

The Clay County Commission will accept Slack's resignation Monday during an emergency meeting, Commissioner Jerry Linkinogger said.

Commissioners also will appoint a temporary replacement -- most likely Deputy Reva Schoonover, who works in the Sheriff's Tax Office, Linkinogger said. The commission then will have 30 days to name Slack's replacement.

"We plan to have a permanent person in place as soon as possible," Linkinogger said. "We will conduct interviews, which should take just a few days."

Commissioners had been expecting Slack's resignation for several weeks, Linkinogger said. They have received several resumes and letters expressing interest in the position.

"There are several good candidates," he said, "and I'm confident we will find the next sheriff among them."

In April, Slack installed a keystroke logger on the work computer of his ex-wife, who works in the Clay County Magistrate Court's office, federal prosecutors said. Keystroke loggers can intercept everything typed on a keyboard, including email and information transmitted to Internet sites. Slack allegedly left the device in place for two weeks.

Computers in the offices of West Virginia circuit judges and magistrates are owned and maintained by the state Supreme Court and are connected to a central Supreme Court computer network.

Steve Canterbury, Supreme Court administrator, has said the sheriff planted the device for personal reasons, not to gain access to private court documents. The device was discovered during a routine audit.

Slack took office in January. He had worked for the sheriff's department for about 16 years before he was elected sheriff. The Slacks divorced in May, after 17 years of marriage.

Neither Slack nor his attorney, Bill Murray, could be reached for comment Friday.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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