POINT PLEASANT — After months of turmoil and plot twists in the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff David L. Anthony, II, has resigned, effective immediately.
Anthony’s resignation was confirmed by Mason County Commission President Rick Handley on Monday afternoon. It was also reported Anthony, who had a pre-trial hearing scheduled on Monday, was in talks to reach a plea agreement with Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan in relation to a 42-count indictment handed down against him by a grand jury in January. The terms of this plea agreement are expected to be revealed at 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 6 in Mason County Circuit Court.
Handley also said Anthony agreed to withdrawal from the race for the Democratic nominee for Mason County Sheriff in the May primary. Anthony surprised many when he filed for reelection in January and returned to work days later, demoting then Chief Deputy Jeff Fields and appointing former Deputy Rob Wilson in his place. After a few weeks on the job, Wilson then announced his resignation from the department, effective March 1, citing, among other reasons, difficulties in the department which he felt prevented him from doing his job.
Monday’s sudden announcement meant the Mason County Sheriff’s Department was not only without a chief deputy but without a sheriff. However, Handley said the sheriff’s department does have a supervisor at the moment. As it stands, Charlie Stearns, the highest ranking officer in the sheriff’s department, will be supervising the department until the commission can appointment Anthony’s replacement. Handley hoped a replacement could be appointed at Thursday’s regular commission meeting. Handley stressed Anthony’s replacement will not be someone from within the department and will not be someone who is currently running for that office. Handley said the commission is looking for someone with a law enforcement background.
With Anthony’s resignation and withdrawal from the upcoming May primary, Handley said the commission will be dropping its petition to remove Anthony from office via a three-judge panel which was recently appointed by the W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals. This hearing was to take place in April, as was Anthony’s criminal trial.
“It’s a very unfortunate thing,” Handley said of the entire situation. “This is not a we win, he loses type of situation. It’s a sad time, but time to start over and time to get new leadership in until the election when the citizens elect a new sheriff.”