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Police officers named in Mingo indictment face other lawsuits

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two police officers mentioned by federal prosecutors in their indictment of Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury's are being sued in federal court for other alleged misconduct.

Thornsbury, 57, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a federal indictment charging him with conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of his former secretary's husband, Robert Woodruff.

Prosecutors allege the judge put his business partner in charge of a Mingo grand jury as foreman in 2009, plotted to plant drugs on Woodruff and tried to get the man sent to jail.

In the indictment, prosecutors say the judge persuaded West Virginia State Police Trooper Brandon Moore and Gilbert Police Officer Nathan Glanden to help plot against Woodruff.

Moore -- who was named "Trooper of the Year" by the State Police in 2010 -- was suspended without pay after the Thornsbury indictment until an internal investigation is complete, State Police have said.

Glanden, who is now assistant chief with the Gilbert Police Department, was working Friday, according to a city dispatcher. Neither he nor Gilbert Police Chief Michael Rasmussen returned repeated telephone calls.

In March of this year, a Raleigh County man sued the State Police and Moore, claiming the trooper unnecessarily beat him in front of his children.

On Feb. 14, 2011, Moore came to Andy Tiller's house in Bolt because Tiller's motorcycle didn't have proper registration, according to Tiller's lawsuit.

While Tiller was handcuffed, Tiller claims, Moore threw the man off of his porch, down about eight steps and "repeatedly struck" him.

According to the lawsuit, Tiller wasn't under the influence of alcohol or drugs and wasn't armed with any weapon.

The lawsuit also states that Moore, without a search warrant, looked through Tiller's house.

Attorneys for the State Police deny the allegations and say Tiller doesn't have enough evidence to support the claims. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Irene Berger.

As for Glanden, two men sued him, four other police officers and the city of Gilbert earlier this month.

Bobby Lester and Jimmy West claim that in August 2011, after they returned home from "the races in Mingo County" that Glanden and other officers came to West's home and asked, "where the gun was." A police officer near West's residence had reported a gun had been stolen from his house.

After West told Glanden he didn't know about the gun, according to the lawsuit, Glanden said he would be back.

"True to his word, Glanden and numerous officers, including all defendant officers, kicked in Mr. West's door and severely beat Mr. West and Mr. Lester for no reason and without provocation," the lawsuit states.

State Police Trooper J.R. Tupper; two other State Police troopers listed by their last names, Douglas and Robinson; and another Gilbert officer, listed by the last name of Thomas, are also named as defendants.

"After the beating, the officers simply left. Neither Mr. West nor Mr. Lester were arrested or ever charged with a crime. Before leaving, one officer informed Mr. West that he should not mention the incident to anyone or his life would become 'a living hell,'" according to the lawsuit.

West and Lester were treated at the hospital, according to the lawsuit.

According to the indictment against Thornsbury, Glanden obtained an arrest warrant for Robert Woodruff on assault and battery charges at the judge's behest.

Woodruff was involved in an altercation at a convenience store last year, in which one man tried to hit him and another man pulled a gun, according to the indictment. Those two men were arrested and charged with assault.

However, about a month later, the charges against those two men were dismissed and, instead, Woodruff was charged.

The charges against Woodruff were later dismissed after he refused to plead guilty and take a deal offering him six months in jail -- which federal prosecutors described as an extreme punishment, even if Woodruff were guilty.

Moore was named in the Thornsbury indictment because the judge allegedly got him to file a criminal complaint against Woodruff, accusing him of stealing scrap metal from his employer.

Thornsbury and the trooper allegedly knew that the man's employer allowed him to take the scraps.

Then-magistrate Eugene Crum issued a warrant and Woodruff was arrested and charged with grand larceny in December 2008. Crum dismissed the charge after county prosecutor Michael Sparks disqualified himself from the case -- which, according to the indictment, could have led to discovery of Thornsbury's scheme.

Also, Moore is alleged to have provided false grand jury testimony about Woodruff in 2009.

Charleston lawyer Mike Callaghan, who represents Robert Woodruff and his wife, Kim, has said he will sue the state Supreme Court (which oversees Thornsbury), the State Police and the city of Gilbert over the allegations in the indictment.

Staff writer Travis Crum contributed to this report.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.

 

 


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