The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

August 16, 2013

W.Va. county reeling as judge, official indicted

(Continued)

The schemes involved a state trooper, the county emergency services director and another man, the indictment says, but none of them panned out.

Thornsbury faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, and a lawyer for the Woodruffs says he can also expect a civil lawsuit.

"My client should never have been placed under the stress of being charged criminally," said Charleston attorney Mike Callaghan, "nor should he have spent time in jail for crimes he did not commit.

"As a lawyer, I knew something was wrong," he said. "But never in my wildest dreams did I fathom the reason for the prosecution."

The indictment said Thornsbury, 57, wanted a friend to plant a magnetic metal box containing drugs on Robert Woodruff's vehicle in 2008. The friend didn't go through with it.

When that failed, prosecutors said the judge got the trooper to file a false complaint against Robert Woodruff for larceny. The judge wanted the trooper to pursue a case against Woodruff for salvaging mine-roof drill bits and scrap from the company he worked for, even though he had permission to do so.

Thornsbury had befriended the trooper and "purposely cultivated a relationship" to influence how he carried out his duties, the indictment said.

The officer, named trooper of the year in 2009, was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, said State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous.

County Prosecutor Michael Sparks intervened in the larceny case. He knew of the affair and "recognized that the criminal charges against Woodruff were improper," the indictment said.

The late sheriff, Eugene Crum, was working as magistrate at the time and dismissed the larceny case.

Thornsbury also tapped a friend, the county's emergency services director, to become the grand jury foreman, according to the indictment.

The judge allegedly wrote subpoenas and had the grand jury issue them to help get private information about Woodruff. That scheme was exposed when one of the businesses refused to cooperate.

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