"When I say start anew, we can actually take the steps to dismiss the indictment and re-present it -- if the evidence supports that," he said.
Crum was shot to death on April 3, as the sheriff sat in his cruiser in Williamson. An affidavit for a search warrant that was unsealed in October revealed that FBI agents were investigating Crum for several months before his death.
During Crum's campaign for sheriff last year, he bought several thousand dollars worth of signs and other promotional items on credit from White's sign shop in Delbarton, according to federal prosecutors.
After Crum was elected sheriff, instead of paying a $3,000 bill to White, Crum allegedly sent an undercover police officer to the shop, where he bought three oxycodone tablets from White, according to federal prosecutors.
Crum and then-Williamson police chief Dave Rockel filed the police report on White's arrest. White was indicted on charges of possession of controlled substances with intent to deliver shortly after Crum and Rockel searched his business around Jan. 30.
Rockel retired as Williamson police chief and joined the Mingo County Sheriff's Department as chief field deputy in June. However, new Mingo Sheriff James Smith fired Rockel in September, shortly after Smith was appointed.
After White's arrest, federal investigators approached White's lawyer, former Williamson mayor Charles "Butch" West, and asked to talk to White about allegations that he provided drugs to Crum. White told FBI agents that, on "multiple occasions prior to his arrest, he unlawfully provided Crum with prescription narcotic pills at Crum's request," according to federal court documents.
After firing West -- at the request of Sparks, Baisden and Crum -- White hired attorney Ron Rumora. Rumora said last week he didn't know about the scheme to keep White quiet until federal prosecutors charged Thornsbury.
White then entered into a plea agreement offered by Sparks that dropped three of five charges and would allow his sentences to run at the same time, according to prosecutors. Also, Sparks reduced White's bail amount from $20,000 to $10,000, Sparks admitted.
White pleaded guilty April 8 to delivery of oxycodone and possession of oxycodone and morphine with an attempt to deliver.
Thornsbury was told about the scheme and agreed with it, the former judge admitted at his plea hearing. Thornsbury sentenced White in May to 1 to 15 years on both charges and ordered the sentences to run at the same time.
After White was released from jail, he rehired West and also hired Charleston attorney David Barney.
"Certainly, we are happy with the judge setting aside the plea," Barney said outside the courthouse Friday. "We were a little disappointed that the judge didn't just dismiss all the charges, given all the evidence that was before the court."
West added, "the same Constitution governs us that governs people from coast to coast . . . it's better for a thousand crooks to be set free than for one [innocent] man to go to jail."
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.