POINT PLEASANT — Mason County Sheriff David L. Anthony, II, 42, is out of jail after posting a $20,000 bond following his arrest on a felony wanton endangerment charge late Thursday night.
The Point Pleasant Register was first to break the story on its website around 2 a.m. Friday morning (Friday’s print edition had already gone to press when the story began to unfold). The charge against Anthony was the result of an investigation by the West Virginia State Police. According to Post Commander E.B. Starcher, the Mason County Detachment of the West Virginia State Police recently launched an investigation of two incidents reported to the detachment by the Mason County Commissioners and Prosecuting Attorney. One of those incidents reportedly unfolded on Saturday, Nov. 5 when Anthony allegedly brandished and discharged a firearm near a 13-year-old male juvenile who is a relative. Anthony was reportedly under the influence of alcohol at the time. Two deputies were present during the incident. There has been no information released on the alleged second incident.
According to Mason County Commissioner Rick Handley, the deputies who allegedly witnessed the firearm incident reported it to the Mason County Commission on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Handley said commissioners then met with Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan on Wednesday, Nov. 9 about the matter. Handley said Morgan drafted a letter on Nov. 9 to the West Virginia State Police requesting an investigation of the wanton endangerment complaint the deputies had lodged against Anthony. The letter was sent Thursday morning on Nov. 10 — hours later W.Va. State Police arrested Anthony. A Domestic Violence Protection order was also reportedly served on Anthony at the time of his arrest.
Despite being over the budget for the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Anthony is not an employee of the Mason County Commission and is an elected official. Handley said he, along with Commissioners Miles Epling and Bob Baird, have been in close contact with Morgan about their options to take any action, if possible, in this situation. However, as of now, the county commission’s hands seem to be tied.
“He’s still the sheriff,” Handley said. “We (the county commission) took the complaints and referred them to the state police, and now it’s up to the justice system to do its part.”
Handley explained, in terms of protocol, the chief deputy steps into the lead roll in the sheriff’s department when the sheriff is unavailable. Handley said commissioners had not spoken with Anthony since his arrest.
According to Starcher, Anthony was arrested without incident along U.S. 35 Thursday night and transported to the Western Regional Jail. Since the arrest occurred in Putnam County, Anthony was arraigned in Putnam County Magistrate Court via video on Friday morning. Other media outlets were also reporting a search warrant was executed at Anthony’s home by state police.
The Mason and Putnam County Detachments of the West Virginia State Police participated in the arrest. Sgt. M. Lafauci, also of the West Virginia State Police, is the lead investigator on the case.