By FANNY SEILER (7/16/02)

From The Charleston Gazette

It's not exactly one happy family in Braxton County. After State Police Sgt. J.W. Bonazzo investigated, a grand jury indicted Jordon Grubb, Magistrate Carolyn Cruickshanks' son, on felony charges of forgery and conspiracy on June 4. Richard Shane Boeger was indicted on June 5 on the same charges, and a juvenile was indicted on forgery, conspiracy and larceny in the same case.

Prosecutor Brian Lanham said the juvenile obtained blank bank checks from retired State Police Sgt. Jeff Swiger, who dates the boy's mother. The juvenile allegedly had Boeger sign Swiger's name to a $300 check, and Grubb sign Swiger's name to a $100 check. Lanham said Grubb and Boeger knew each other, but they didn't know the other one had signed the checks.

Grubb's name was one of several listed in a letter that Bonazzo sent to Sheriff Harold Carpenter several months ago, saying law enforcement shouldn't give them a break if they were caught doing something wrong.

Lanham said Bonazzo conducted his investigation before the letter was sent. Carpenter formerly was a magistrate, and Cruickshanks was his secretary. When Carpenter ran for sheriff, Cruickshanks was named to fill the vacancy, and then ran and was elected. Her father, Billy Jack, formerly was assessor for many years, and is still active in Democratic politics.

Bonazzo sent his letter only to Carpenter, but Swiger - Bonazzo's former boss - said the letter wound up in the hands of a lawyer who dislikes Bonazzo, and the lawyer gave it to Michael Farber, who is now Boeger's attorney. Farber gave the letter to the press. Swiger said Farber "deeply regrets" giving out the letter, and wants Swiger to agree to reduced charges so Boeger can enlist in the military. Boeger won't be accepted with a felony record.

Bonazzo was given a five-day suspension for sending the letter, which Swiger said was only sharing law enforcement information, and wasn't improper. Bonazzo has filed a grievance, and the Charleston law firm of Masters & Taylor, which Swiger now works for, is handling his case. Swiger said he didn't know his checks had been stolen until he was called by his bank for being overdrawn. When he found out what had happened, Swiger asked the State Police to investigate.

Ironically, Sheriff Carpenter had encouraged Lanham to run for prosecutor, and Lanham said he's going to seek re-election. Lanham said he still considers Carpenter a friend. Chief Deputy Sheriff Chuck Hosey said Grubb's indictment hasn't caused a rift between the sheriff's office and the State Police.

Chief Circuit Judge Jack Alsop said he recused himself from hearing the cases because he has supervisory responsibility over the magistrate. Circuit Judge Richard Facemire also recused himself from Grubb's case. Boeger's case is set for trial Sept. 17. A date hadn't been set for Grubb.

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