POINT PLEASANT — Comments both for and against Mason County’s former sheriff having his jail sentence modified have been filed in Mason County Circuit Court.
As previously reported, counsel for David L. Anthony, II, filed a motion back in July asking Judge David Nibert to consider a modification of Anthony’s sentence to possibly include probation, day report or home confinement.
Nibert then sent out an order to Anthony’s counsel, David Moye, and Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan, saying he needed comments regarding this motion to be received by the court no later than Thursday, Nov. 15. Nibert said after Nov. 15, he would rule upon the motion for reduction in sentence without a hearing unless a hearing is requested by Anthony.
As of Monday, comments both for and against Anthony’s sentence being modified had been filed in circuit court. Included in the filings was a letter of support for Anthony’s motion written by former Mason County Sheriff Troy “Shorty” Huffman.
Huffman wrote he had known Anthony from the time he was a boy, adding Anthony was working as a corrections officer at the Mason County Jail when Huffman was elected sheriff in 1996. Huffman said Anthony did an “outstanding job” at the jail and was later hired as as deputy sheriff where “he went beyond outstanding in doing a good job and was a deputy I was proud to have working for me.”
Huffman’s letter goes on to say: “I think and feel David is a very fine young man that made some bad choices and mistakes he regrets.”
The state, represented by Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Damon Morgan, also filed comments about Anthony’s motion, comments which clearly protest any reconsideration of his sentence. Attached to the state’s comments is a letter from Sgt. M. LaFauci of the West Virginia State Police, the investigating officer in Anthony’s criminal case.
LaFauci writes: ” I feel any reconsideration of his (Anthony) sentence would be detrimental to the citizens of Mason County. Mr. Anthony took an oath to serve the citizens and used his position to use taxpayers’ money for his own personal gain. Let us not forget that Mr. Anthony was indicted on several felony counts and was offered a plea agreement to lesser misdemeanor charges. This in itself, was viewed by some community members to be ‘politics as usual.’”
LaFauci goes to say any alternative sentencing for Anthony would send the “wrong message” and “in turn cause the integrity of the Mason County justice system to be scrutinized.”
In addition, Morgan’s office filed the following: a memorandum dated Jan. 30 from R.A. Wilson to deputy sheriffs regarding “schedule change and other information” upon the return of Anthony; an article from the Point Pleasant Register dated Feb. 7 and titled “Sheriff’s department releases mission statement”; and an open letter to the citizens of Mason County from then Chief Deputy Wilson explaining reasons for his resignation.
Also filed from Morgan’s office, a record of telephone calls with Anthony from May 21 through July 6 of this year. The filing says “some of these calls demonstrate a reluctance of defendant (Anthony) to write letters of apology and expresses that defendant (Anthony) has been shown a lack of respect and fairness by the court.”
As previously reported, Anthony’s counsel filed a motion making the argument Anthony’s sentence should be reconsidered based upon: Anthony having served the citizens of Mason County for over 20 years as a law enforcement officer without a criminal record of any manner; Anthony providing hand-written letters to the Mason County office holders as required in his plea agreement; since his sentencing date, Anthony’s father has become increasingly ill and could use Anthony’s assistance; Anthony has had no violations since his incarceration, and thus is a good candidate for probation, day report or home confinement.
In his motion, Moye also states Anthony has the income to pay for probation costs, thus eliminating a state expense. Due to Anthony’s prior job as a sheriff, the regional jail has been forced to hold Anthony in protective custody which is an additional burden upon the state, Moye wrote, arguing an alternative sentence would be more “economically efficient.”
Earlier this year, Anthony entered into a plea agreement where he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor offenses of shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling, brandishing and two counts of misdemeanor embezzlement. Anthony was sentenced to six months for brandishing and 90 days for shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling, to run concurrent. He was also sentenced to one year for each count of misdemeanor embezzlement to run concurrent with each other but to run consecutive with the six month sentence.
Also as part of the plea agreement, Anthony relinquished his law enforcement certification to the state of West Virginia, resigned from office, withdrew from seeking reelection in the May primary and agreed not seek any other elected office in the future.
Anthony started serving his sentence back in May. He is currently housed in the Southwestern Regional Jail in Holden.