By Bob Weaver

The trial against former Calhoun Chief Deputy Ron Bandy is set for April 3rd, but a multitude of problems hang over the case, not the least being that special prosecutor Jerry Hough is asking for a deal that would essentially dismiss the case.

Deputy Bandy and April McCroskey, his girlfriend at the time, have been indicted on at least seven felony counts each related to the removal of guns and other items from an elderly couples house at Big Springs.

The couple had been placed in a nursing home at the time with Calhoun sheriff Carl Ballengee being appointed conservator.

Special prosecutor Gerry Hough and Bandy's attorney John R. Teare, Jr. are asking for a pre-trial diversion, a legal mechanism which would essentially put an end to the case.

After one year, if nothing new surfaces, the case against Bandy would be dropped.

Judge Thomas Evans III declined to dismiss the case last week, and questioned whose responsibly it is for deciding about a pre-trial diversion.

Evans indicated disapproval about what is happening with the case, saying both individuals were government representatives, one a deputy and the other an Adult Protective Worker for DHHR.

He said he was concerned about the public's interest being served and maintaining public trust.

The situation is further clouded by a pattern of poor performance by the WV State Police in Calhoun over a period of years, to which the agency has not been responsive in making corrections with improved supervision.

Most recently is the pending dismissal of a drug case against John M. Richards, indicted by a local grand jury on charges related to meth production in Grantsville.

The Grantsville detachment of the State Police lost the evidence and botched the chain of custody, said detachment commander Sgt. C. J. Ellyson, causing Richards' attorney to say "Staggering negligence is the conclusion most charitable."

Sources close to the WV State Police say that lie detector tests are being administered to troopers that are currently or formerly attached to the Grantsville Detachment.

It is unclear whether or not the tests are linked to the Bandy case, or other issues of alleged professional misconduct.

State Police Sgt. Dale Fluharty, who supervises the Grantsville detachment, declined to comment yesterday to a request by the Herald. The request was regarding confirmation of an internal investigation, or the nature of such an investigation.

In the Bandy case, his attorney John R. Teare, Jr., filed a motion for dismissal in January, citing that charges brought against Bandy did not indicate specific criminal intent, that Bandy was operating within his boundaries related to the removal of guns and possibly other items

Prosecutor Gerry Hough gave only brief reasons for his diversion request last Friday - the State Police have yet to provide transcripts of witness testimony, problems with the chain of custody of evidence and that some of the evidence was sold. No other details have been made public.

Following Hough's request last Friday, Judge Evans said he would order the State Police to produce their recorded transcripts forthwith, after which Hough responded there are other problems related to the State Police's case.

Hough appeared to be implying that the State Police no longer possessed the transcripts, and that neither he nor the defense attorney had been able to obtain them.

Both prosecutor and defense attorney could file briefs prior to the April 3rd trial date.

State Police have yet to bring information to indict former Grantsville Police Chief Ron Gordon. Over a year has gone by, with much of that time Gordon being on home confinement.

Gordon has been accused of sexually abusing at least two women under his supervision, and a third woman described as a relative.

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