By Bob Weaver

New felony charges were filed yesterday against former Grantsville resident Christopher Todd Smith, 38, for the theft of cemetery memorials from the Bethlehem Cemetery.

The criminal complaint filed by the WV State Police says the cemetery theft was related to retaliation against a public official, Patsy McCartney, Chief Probation Officer for the Fifth Judicial District.

Last week, Smith was charged with retaliation against a witness, a felony, after allegedly shooting out a window of a mobile home belonging to Sterling Alfred Lamp.

Lamp, according to the complaint, had been a witness in a 2007 drug case against Smith.

Misdemeanor charges have also been filed against Smith for destruction of property on or near the property of Grantsville Mayor Gary Knight.

Patsy McCartney filed a complaint with the police, saying someone had been stealing "everything off her late husband Mike McCartney's grave at Bethlehem Cemetery."

McCartney, in the complaint, said the flowers and shepherd hook from her husband's grave appeared to be the only items missing from the cemetery. The theft happened more than once, causing her to take digital photos of the decorations.

Cpl. Doug Starcher, according to the complaint, stopped Smith in Grantsville and observed artificial flowers in the bed of his truck.

The officer later went to the residence of Smith's mother, Mary Ann Ball, and observed a shepherd hook and basket of flowers in her yard, discovering "Mike McCartney" written on the remembrances.

Calling other officers to the scene, Cpl. Starcher obtained a search warrant, with Ms. McCartney later identifying the items as those stolen from the cemetery, according to the complaint.

Probation officer McCartney told police she had been testifying in her official duties in a case related to Smith, expressing "fear of the defendant."

Smith is currently in Central Regional Jail on multiple offenses.

During a court hearing last year, Judge David W. Nibert said Smith has a lengthy criminal record, including the taking of a credit card from a man killed in a car accident and using it to purchase an ATV.

Probable cause for last week's charge for retaliation against a witness was declared in Calhoun Magistrate Court yesterday, and the case was sent to Circuit Court for further consideration.

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