HOUGH WILL INVESTIGATE TROOPER STARCHER - Allegations He Committed Perjury In Circuit Court

(05/03/2002)

Gilmer County Prosecutor Jerry Hough has been appointed by the Prosecuting Attorney's Institute of West Virginia to investigate perjury allegations against Trooper Doug Starcher.

Court records indicate Starcher may have lied about evidence used against Chloe resident Kelley Mace in a drug case.

Mace requested Calhoun Prosecutor Tony Morgan to investigate the issue, after which he recused himself and Judge Thomas Evans III asked for a special prosecutor in February, 2002.

Bill Charnock, the Executive Director of the West Virginia Prosecutors Institute, said "Hough agreed to be the investigator this week," and the paper work is being forwarded.

The Institute told The Herald a few weeks ago they were having difficulty finding a prosecutor to investigate the situation.

Court records appear to sustain Mace's allegations of perjury, after which she was indicted and prosecuted in Calhoun courts for nearly a year. She was charged with possession with intent to deliver an illegal drug, when no such drug was found. Several State Policemen raided her home in the summer of 2000, in what Sgt. John Bonazzo described as a million dollar drug operation.

Starcher is being investigated internally by the State Police, led by Logan officer Sgt. J. B. Schoolcraft. Schoolcraft did not return phones calls regarding the status of his investigation. Starcher has been assigned out-of-county to special duty for several months.

Trooper Starcher is currently linked to two civil suits in the county, one by Grantsville resident Richard Whystell, after the trooper threw a MagLite through his car window. Whytsell claimed he broke no laws.

Trooper Starcher brought charges against Whytsell and failed to report the MagLite incident on his police report. In what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity, Whytsell said Starcher was in a rage, threatening him. State Police declined to replace Whytsell's rear car glass. "That was pretty much what I wanted them to do," he said.

Kelley Mace, whose case is currently being investigated by the system, is pursuing a civil suit against the State Police for damages.


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