(02/24/2006)
Complaints of professional misconduct and false arrest were lodged this week against Cpl. Doug Starcher of the Grantsville Detachment of the WV State Police with Col. D. L. Lemmon, superintendent.

It is the second time misconduct complaints have been filed in Calhoun County against Starcher in the past few weeks.

A formal complaint was filed against the officer in January for handing a protection order to an 11-year-old child that was meant for an adult in the household.

Besides problems that have surfaced in Calhoun related to misconduct, interfering with plain-view photography and unsupported evidence, it appears Starcher had internal problems while serving in Roane County.

Court documents certified by his detachment commander Sgt. J. E. Elmore indicates Starcher either lost or concealed evidence in a murder case.

Elmore said the evidence was discovered when he "was checking a temporary storage closet and discovered material belongings of John G. Moorehead (the victim) in a closet assigned to Tfc. D. P. Starcher."

Starcher got in hot water over evidence and testimony in Calhoun, saying Chloe resident Kelly Mace possessed an illegal drug following a raid. Mace was indicted and taken through court, although the State Police lab found no illegal drug.

Starcher claimed that he stopped Hur Herald editor Bob Weaver from "taking pictures of an old lady's exposed breasts ... asking him to stop" at the scene of a Calhoun traffic fatality.

The officer repeated his allegations about in his arrest warrant.

Emergency personnel sustained the woman was fully-clothed when Weaver was on the scene.

Weaver said he complied to Starcher's illegal request to not take photos at a plain-view scene, and attempted to leave the scene, but Starcher came after him to his car "screaming and yelling," after which Starcher arrested Weaver for assault and obstructing an officer.

The complaint alleges Starcher violated Weaver's legal and constitutional rights, falsely arresting him, saying the officers actions were malicious, inflammatory, defaming and injurious.

The complaint alleges a pattern of unprofessional behavior not only toward Weaver, but toward citizens of Calhoun County, accusing the agency of failing to provide adequate supervisor over the officer.

A hearing regarding the criminal charges against Weaver has yet to be scheduled, although Calhoun prosecutor Matt Minney and magistrate Rick Postalwait have asked to be recused from the case.

Minney's withdraw is based on Weaver being a county commissioner.


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