(03/12/2008)
By Bob Weaver

Wirt Middle School principal JD Hoover filed a motion through his attorney yesterday to dismiss weapons charges filed against him.

The attorney told Judge Robert Waters that the weapons weren't loaded.

Wirt Prosecutor Leslie Maze responded that under law, it's illegal to have guns on campus, loaded or not.

Maze indicated exception is made for law officers or if certain kinds of permission is issued by the school superintendent.

"We refute that the superintendent gave Mr. Hoover permission to bring weapons on to school property. The superintendent gave him permission to leave the school, but did not give him permission to return to the school with the firearm," said Prosecutor Maze.

Maze argued that Hoover's case does not apply to any concealed weapons case, since they were hunting weapons.

Sources told the Herald last fall that Hoover had been suspended related to weapons charges, but local officials were slow in confirming such action, even after a Freedom of Information request was filed.

Court records showed that Hoover was charged with two counts of possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds.

In the criminal complaint filed in October, Hoover told the county superintendent he brought the weapons to school, then left school grounds and returned with one firearm still in his vehicle.

Officials have indicated that Hoover's charges are somehow related to a hunting accident a week or so before.

Those sources have indicated Hoover was not directly involved in an accidental shooting of a teen in Wirt County, but imply he might have had something to do with the disposition of weapons.

A number of weeks after Hoover was placed on administrative leave, school officials confirmed the action.

Hoover appeared in front of Magistrate Janey Wigal last November, finding probable cause, the case was sent to the Circuit Court.

Judge Waters decided to postpone the dismissal motion, to have additional time to look over the case.

He will hear arguments for the dismissal on March 31st.

Hoover was a former school guidance counselor and teacher in Calhoun.


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