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Kate White

Staff writer
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Six apply for Kanawha family judge position

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Six attorneys applied to be appointed Kanawha County Family Court judge when Mike Kelly retires Aug. 31.

James Wilson Douglas, Erica N. Lord, Laura J. Straley, Lera K. VanMeter, Darlene Ratliff Washington and R. Jo...

Guilty plea in murder of Kanawha City man

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Charleston man accused of killing a 90-year-old Kanawha City resident in his home in January pleaded guilty to the murder Monday morning as his trial was scheduled to begin.

Anthony Dav...

Kanawha deputies held same conference Plants attended in Florida

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A training class that Kanawha County’s prosecuting attorney and his top assistant paid thousands of dollars in public money to attend in Florida in 2012 was also held twice that year by the Kanawha County Sheriff&...

Kanawha prosecutor takes deal, will attend batterers program

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Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants signed an agreement Friday to attend a program in Putnam County in the hope the charges against him will be dropped after he completes it.

On Thursday, Plants hadn&#x...

As trial dates loom, Plants hasn’t accepted new deal

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The special prosecutor handling the misdemeanor charges against Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants is waiting to hear whether Plants will accept an amended deal or go to trial.

Plants hasn’t reg...

Lawyer leaves firm after ethics charges

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Attorneys with the Dinsmore & Shohl law firm are reviewing cases after its managing partner in Charleston left the firm partly because he was charged with ethics violations.

Letters went out to clients at the b...

Lawyers deciding how to proceed in local employer birth-control case

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After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against them last month, attorneys for the federal government want more time to decide their next move in a lawsuit filed against it by South Charleston car dealer Joe Holland over whet...

Mingo magistrate sues ex-judge Thornsbury, others

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A longtime Mingo County magistrate has sued the county’s former circuit judge and prosecuting attorney, claiming she “suffered mightily” for her stance against corruption at the courthouse.

De...

Zakaib to retire after decades as Kanawha judge

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Paul Zakaib Jr., a Kanawha County Circuit judge for nearly three decades, will leave the bench next month.

Zakaib, 81, said that after contemplating it for about a year, he will retire Au...

Man pleads guilty to St. Albans woman’s stabbing death

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Nancy Burdette Lynch looked terrified before she was stabbed to death earlier this year, the man who pleaded guilty to her slaying said.

Timothy Paul Shafer, 29, of St. Albans, pleaded guilty to first-degree murde...

Attorney for man accused in Kanawha City slaying to investigate crime scene

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The attorney of a Charleston man charged with first-degree murder was given permission Thursday to take an investigator to the place police say his client killed a 90-year-old Kanawha City man earlier this year.

A...

Former Logan circuit clerk pleads guilty to mine kickback scheme

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A former Logan County circuit clerk pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court for his role in a coal mine kickback scheme.

Alvis Porter, 61, of Holden, who owned Quality Oil, admitted that he paid about $400,000 in...

Monsanto settlement finalized; medical monitoring, cleanup available for residents

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There were about 30 phone messages from potential class-members in a landmark settlement against Monsanto waiting when the office charged with handling those claims opened on Tuesday morning.

Charleston attorney Th...

Ex-Mingo prosecutor gets one year in federal prison

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A federal judge sentenced the former prosecuting attorney of Mingo County on Monday to a year in prison and said he would have given him longer — possibly much longer — if he could.

Michael Sparks, 44...

In Kanawha County, lawyers arguing the ‘Plants’ defense

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About a week ago, at a hearing in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, the attorney for a man charged with felony child abuse presented a defense that prosecutors have heard all too often lately.

The prosecutors call i...

Mercer prosecutor won’t retry murder case

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The 1998 murder charge pending against Davie Hurt will be dismissed, Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash said Wednesday.

Last month, the West Virginia Supreme Court sided with a lower court’s ruling...

Former Charleston police officer sues city over firing

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A former Charleston police officer is suing the city, claiming he was harassed and fired after he broke off an affair with another officer and divorced a relative of the department’s chief.

Christopher Thomp...

Ex-Mingo prosecutor Michael Sparks asks for alternative sentence to avoid prison

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Former Mingo County prosecuting attorney Michael Sparks is asking a federal judge to, rather than send him to prison, give him an alternative sentence, like community service — in which his attorney says Sparks co...

Teenager pleads guilty to charges in West Side slaying

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A 17-year-old pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges in the shooting death of a 19-year-old on Charleston’s West Side in April.

Naquil Sayles, 17, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder and fleeing ...

Businessman expects action after birth control ruling

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Attorneys for South Charleston car dealer Joe Holland expect a federal judge in West Virginia will soon make a swift ruling in their favor after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that employe...

Plants to enter anti-battering program

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants reached another deal Tuesday with a special prosecutor handling the two misdemeanor charges Plants faces over hitting his son with a belt and vio...

Yeager Airport added to lawsuit over Freedom spill

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Yeager Airport has been added to a lawsuit that now claims the airport’s poor management of a construction project contributed to the January chemical leak that left hundreds of thousands of West Virginians withou...

W.Va. celebrities ‘square’ off in game show classic

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Which West Virginia country music singer was the first to wear a “Nudie suit” at the Grand Ole Opry?

“Little Jimmy Dickens,” answered Charlie McCoy, the famous harmonica player and Fayet...

Plants never applied to receive continuing education credits after trip

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In 2012, Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants and his top assistant attended a conference in Florida. Records say they went to get some of the continuing legal education credits necessary for every lawyer.

...

Bouncer, shot 12 times in April, released from hospital

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Donna Beasley stood in the shaded doorway of the hospital and paused before she wheeled her husband, Jimmy, out into the sunshine.

The crowd of people gathered outside the main entrance of CAMC General Hospital sta...

New family court order issued in Plants case

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A family court judge kept in place a domestic violence protective order against Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants on Thursday, but lifted some restrictions against the prosecutor’s contact with his c...

Tomblin announces ‘comprehensive’ review of juvenile justice system

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Joined by Supreme Court justices and leaders of the House and Senate, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Wednesday a comprehensive review of the state’s juvenile justice system, to be undertaken by the Pew Charitable...

Justices reduce $90 million verdict against Charleston nursing home

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West Virginia Supreme Court justices on Wednesday reduced a $90 million verdict against a Charleston nursing home to about $32 million, but still called the nursing home’s conduct “reprehensible” and...

Judge throws out lawsuit by ex-DHHR employees

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A Kanawha County judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by two former Department of Health and Human Resources employees who claimed they were victims of illegal reprisals for their efforts as whistleblowers.

Circuit...

Another assistant prosecutor assigned to handle domestic cases

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Assistant Kanawha Prosecutor Jennifer Gordon was appointed this week to assist the special prosecutors assigned to handle cases involving charges of domestic violence because of a conflict that erupted after the county&#...

Spouses can’t sue over adultery, court rules

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You can’t sue somebody for stealing your spouse in West Virginia, Supreme Court justices reaffirmed Monday.

In a 4-1 ruling justices expanded on a state law that abolished lawsuits filed over alienation of a...

Trooper harassed the teen he killed, mother says

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The mother of an 18-year-old man shot and killed by a West Virginia State Police trooper last week told a sheriff’s deputy four months ago that the trooper, who is their neighbor, was harassing her son.

On T...

Court to reconsider its ruling on Regional Jail Authority’s lack of liability in rape case

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In a rare move, the West Virginia Supreme Court will reconsider its decision that the Regional Jail Authority cannot be held liable in a lawsuit that alleges one of its male correctional officers raped a female inmate.

New Mingo judge sworn in; ex-DHHR official gets family court job

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Miki Thompson was sworn in Wednesday as the new circuit judge in Mingo County, and an ousted state employee who is suing over her dismissal was appointed to take her place as family court judge.

Thompson was appoin...

Ex-federal prosecutor takes over as Plants chief of staff

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Former U.S. Attorney Charles “Chuck” Miller will take over as Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants’ chief of staff.

Dan Holstein, who serves in the position now, said he is voluntari...

Former Mingo prosecutor’s sentencing delayed

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The sentencing of Mingo County’s former prosecuting attorney has been reset for next month.

Michael Sparks’ sentencing in federal court was scheduled for Monday, but U.S. District Judge Thomas E. John...

W.Va. gay marriage suit to await higher court ruling

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A federal judge in West Virginia has put a lawsuit challenging West Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage on hold until a federal appeals court decides a similar Virginia case.

U.S. District Chief Judge Robert...

Ex-Mingo judge gets 50 months in prison

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Michael Thornsbury acted more like a Third World dictator than a West Virginia county judge, a federal judge said Monday before sentencing him to more than four years in prison.

Thornsbury, who served as Mingo Coun...

Court approves Harshbarger deal

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West Virginia Supreme Court justices unanimously approved a deal Kanawha Magistrate Ward Harshbarger made to resolve the ethics charges filed against him when he mishandled the domestic violence petition the ex-wife of t...

County doesn’t have to pay for prosecution of family judge

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Last week, yet another special prosecutor was appointed to handle a case in Kanawha County, as a result of the pending criminal charges against Kanawha Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants.

But unlike the first two spe...

Age discrimination case wrongly filed in Kanawha, justices say

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Supreme Court justices on Friday reversed a lower court’s decision and said an age discrimination lawsuit should be moved from Kanawha County to Logan County.

Kanawha Circuit...

Plants’ office taken to task by judge at latest hearing

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Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants and his chief of staff, Dan Holstein, were sharply questioned on Thursday by Circuit Judge Duke Bloom and the special prosecutor Bloom appointed to handle domestic-violence...

Thornsbury’s testimony helped with Sparks, Baisden’s convictions

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Former Mingo County circuit judge Michael Thornsbury played a big role in the criminal convictions of the former Mingo commissioner and prosecuting attorney, according to federal prosecutors.

U.S. Attorney Booth Go...

Rape guilty plea stands; DNA not his, activists say

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A judge Tuesday refused to reverse the guilty plea of a man whose lawyers argued that DNA evidence cleared him of the 2001 rape of a Clarksburg police officer’s mother.

Joseph Buffey’s guilty plea for...

Confiscated drug money to fund fill-in prosecutors

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Kanawha County commissioners voted Tuesday to take drug forfeiture money in an account held by Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants to help pay for a court-ordered special prosecutor appointed to handle cases Plants and his ...

Boone prosecutor to handle Kanawha family judge’s case

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Boone County’s prosecuting attorney will serve as special prosecutor in the criminal case against a Kanawha County family court judge.

Keith Randolph was appointed by the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys ...

Thornsbury’s lawyers say his help should lessen sentence

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A judge should consider the amount of information former Mingo County circuit judge Michael Thornsbury gave to federal prosecutors before the judge sentences him, Thornsbury’s attorneys say.

In a sentencing ...

Supreme Court upholds reversal of murder charge

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On Friday afternoon, Davie Lee Hurt got a notification sent to his cell phone that the West Virginia Supreme Court had unanimously sided with a lower court’s ruling and vacated his 1998 murder conviction.

&#...

Special prosecutor says hours, money spent on job justified

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Special prosecutor Don Morris has asked a judge not to cut back his hours, and says the amount he’s being paid to handle domestic violence cases in Kanawha County is reasonable.

Morris also wants Kanawha Cir...

Charleston officer sues Huntington police over alleged attack

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A Charleston police officer says a Huntington police officer attacked him in downtown Huntington -- pepper-spraying him, smashing his face into concrete and punching him in the head.

Charleston Police Cpl. Steven M...