CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former magistrate was appointed Tuesday to fill the vacancy that will be created when Mercer County Magistrate Richard Fowler retires at the end of the month.
Charles N. Poe was appointed magistrate, as Fowler will retire on Feb. 28, according to a news release from the West Virginia Supreme Court.
Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph in September Fowler was under investigation because of Facebook messages he allegedly sent to a Princeton woman who had appeared before him for arraignment.
Mercer County Chief Circuit Judge Derek Swope made the appointment. Poe is a Democrat like Fowler, the release states.
Poe previously served as magistrate from 2008 to 2012, when he lost a bid for re-election.
"After losing and being appointed, it's kind of like being born again. I'm looking forward to coming back, and coming back to Princeton. I worked in Princeton as a police officer for 22 years," Poe said in a statement.
He will hold the position until the 2016 election. He plans to seek re-election then, he said.
In January 2012, the Judicial Investigation Commission admonished Fowler for lying to investigators about dating the wife of a defendant who had appeared before him for arraignment on wanton endangerment, stalking and domestic assault charges. Fowler also took a job at the Princeton Speedway racetrack without approval from the Supreme Court, according to the admonishment.
Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury said Fowler's retirement wouldn't affect any investigations into his alleged misconduct.