|Judge David W. Nibert this week ordered the Calhoun Commission to pay legal fees incurred by resigned deputy sheriff Ron Bandy (pictured left).|
Calhoun prosecutor Rocky Holmes said the legal bill will be somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000. The commission has yet to receive the order.
Bandy's legal expenses are related to criminal charges brought against him by the West Virginia State Police and former prosecutor Matt Minney, saying he took guns and items from an elderly Calhoun couple's house after they had been placed in a nursing home.
The Calhoun sheriff held a conservator-ship, a care-taking of the couples estate.
The case against Bandy was dismissed in November, 2007, by Judge Thomas Evans III, after special prosecutor Gerry Hough said there was insufficient evidence to indicate a crime had been committed, and that the state could not prove criminal intent.
Bandy had been indicted on eight counts by a Calhoun grand jury following an investigation by the WV State Police: one count of grand larceny, three counts of burglary, three counts of conspiracy, all felonies, and one misdemeanor count for destruction of property.
Judge Nibert overturned a decision by the Calhoun Deputy Sheriff's Civil Service Board that said the county was not liable for Bandy's legal fees. The Calhoun Commission had concurred with their decision.
The fee is owed to John R. Teare, Jr., Bandy's attorney, who is also his brother-in-law.
At the time of the dismissal, special prosecutor Hough said, "The defendant (Bandy) brought the property to the sheriff and he declined to accept it." Judge Evans said that act was "extremely dangerous" to the state's case.
"Thieves do not take stolen property to the Sheriff and then to the DHHR for safe keeping," he said.
Evans said he had problems with some of the testimony, citing the accessing of a safe deposit box at the Calhoun Bank by Bandy's former girlfriend DHHR employee April McCroskey, saying it "raised suspicion," but "suspicion is not proof."
McCroskey, who was initially indicted on the same charges as Bandy, was found guilty of trespassing, which had a $100 fine and court costs.
"Mr. Hough has done the right thing" said Evans, by seeking dismissal.
In addition to being charged for missing items from the elderly couple's house, Bandy faced another problem in the county for failing to appear in court.
Bandy resigned his position in 2006 after prosecutor Matt Minney said he had failed to appear in court in a timely manner in criminal cases.
Bandy was then late for a hearing before Judge David Nibert to show cause why he had not appeared to court hearings to which he had been subpoenaed.
Prosecutor Minney said "It is basically a contempt of court issue."
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