CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said Thursday he will ask for a special prosecutor to handle the case of his neighbor, who is charged with attempted murder after a police standoff earlier this month.
Mark Bramble, 49, is charged with attempted murder and wanton endangerment after allegedly firing dozens of shots from different guns and shooting randomly inside and outside his house in the Sherwood Forest subdivision and at police during a standoff that lasted almost three hours Aug. 12.On Tuesday, Trent Redman, Bramble's attorney, filed a motion requesting that Plants recuse himself and his office because Plants lives in the same neighborhood as Bramble.
The motion says that Plants, as well as his office, "has far more at stake than his ordinary 'dedication to his duty.' . . . [Plants] cannot only be described as a witness in this matter but possibly an alleged victim."
Plants, who lives about 100 yards away from Bramble, and was home during the alleged incident, said he filed a motion Thursday morning requesting his office be taken off the case.
"After I looked and read all the case law about recusals, it was pretty clear," the prosecutor said. "As a matter of fact, it could be considered professional misconduct if I don't recuse myself . . . I am a victim. Let's say I don't recuse myself and the case moves forward and we have a trial. If there's a guilty verdict, this would definitely be an appealable issue.
"In my professional opinion, the Supreme Court would likely overturn any conviction I got," Plants said.
If an elected prosecutor is removed from a case, his entire office is, as well, Plants said, and a special prosecutor from another county is assigned.
A hearing is scheduled for Friday in front of Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster to decide the recusal motion and Bramble's bail.
Last week, at the request of prosecutors, Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey reinstated a $200,000 bail for Bramble, overturning a magistrate's decision lowering it. Magistrate Mike Sisson initially set Bramble's bail at $200,000 cash, but Magistrate Jack Pauley later reduced that to $25,000. Prosecutors asked Bailey to reconsider the amount, which they considered too low.
Bramble had worked in the Workers' Compensation Division of the state Attorney General's Office, but had turned in a letter of resignation days before the standoff with police. Before that, he worked at the Charleston firm Kesner, Kesner and Bramble.
Among Kanawha County's seven circuit judges, only Webster and Duke Bloom didn't recuse themselves from Bramble's case.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.