A Roane County magistrate Russell Goodwin will preside over a preliminary hearing for a Mason County sheriff accused of firing a weapon over a child's head during an argument.

Mason County Circuit Judge David Nibert appointed Goodwin after two Mason County magistrates asked to be recused from the case.

At issue is the removal of the sheriff from office.

Sheriff David Anthony, 42, has been charged with felony wanton endangerment after he fired a pistol over the head of his 13-year-old son, witnessed by two of his deputies.

County commission president Miles Epling said the commission called the State Police when they heard rumors about the incident.

Epling told state media that county commissioners have very limited authority over elected officials, and are seeking legal advice over how he can be removed from office.

While there is a common believe that county commissioners play a supervisory role over elected officials, commissioners essentially prepare and administer county budgets.

A petition can be filed through Circuit Court to West Virginia's Supreme Court, which appoints a three-judge panel to hear the case. Elected officials can be removed if "misconduct, malfeasance or gross immorality" can be proved.

Anthony has checked into a 90-day rehab for what was described as a drinking problem, according to magistrate Goodwin.

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