By Bob Weaver|
The West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney's Institute has yet to appoint a
special prosecutor to investigate State Police Trooper Doug Starcher of
Calhoun County for perjury and other possible misconduct.
Judge Thomas C. Evans III accepted a disqualification request from Calhoun
Prosecuting Attorney Tony Morgan on February 11, 2002 and requested an
outside prosecutor be appointed.
Trooper Starcher has been accused of lying before the Calhoun County
court, which led to the indictment and year-long prosecution of Chloe
resident Kelley Mace.
Mace said she was prosecuted by Starcher and his supervisor Sgt. John
Bonazzo, using evidence that did not exist. The case was finally dropped.
Mace filed a complaint with Prosecutor Morgan last November stating "I
expect Trooper Doug Starcher to be prosecuted, as any other citizen who
lies before a court of justice."
A spokesperson for Executive Director Alexander Ross of the Prosecuting
Attorney's Institute said yesterday, the agency is having difficulty finding a
prosecutor to take the case. "We tried to get the Roane prosecutor, but he
declined," they said. "We try to find a prosecutor in the general vicinity."
State Trooper J. B. Schoolcraft of Logan has been investigating the Starcher
case. The Institute said it was customary for the State Police to turn over
their findings to special prosecutors.
The State Police declined to confirm what kind of action is being taken
against Trooper Starcher, although sources state the investigation is
"serious and continuing."
Trooper Starcher has reportedly been transferred to Kanawha County, and
his supervising officer at the time of the incident, Sgt. John Bonazzo was
transferred to Braxton County.
A review of court records and transcripts indicate Trooper Starcher lied
more than once about evidence.
The State Police stated Mace was involved in a "million dollar" drug deal,
claiming they seized an illegal drug on her property, which she says was
common garden sulfur found in her garage.
Court records indicate the drug did not exist, nor was there any confirmation
from the State Police lab of an illegal substance. She was also charged with
intent to deliver the illegal substance.
Prosecuting Attorney Morgan said "Douglas Starcher is a senior trooper from
the West Virginia State Police and is the arresting officer in pending cases
wherein I am the prosecutor." Morgan indicated he was unclear what to do
with the cases.
Mace's request for an investigation asserted "The record and investigation
will clearly show criminal behavior and a violation of the laws of the State of
West Virginia by Trooper Doug Starcher and his supervising officer Sgt. John