MetroNews staff photo

A former Jefferson County sheriff has plead guilty to violating a suspects rights after a failed bank robbery.

In Martinsburg’s U.S. District Court Monday, former Jefferson County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley pleaded guilty to a count of deprivation of rights under the color of the law.

Shirley admitted in court to severely stomping and kicking attempted bank robber Mark Daniel Haines after a Dec. 27, 2010, police pursuit.

“What he did was unreasonable and excessive and he crossed the line by kicking and beating Mr. Haines when it was unnecessary to do so,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld.

Video cameras in nearby police cruisers showed the incident unfold. Ihlenfeld said the beating was pretty severe.

“He broke Mr. Haines’ nose, he fractured his orbital bone and inflicted other injuries upon Mr. Haines,” said Ihlenfeld.

A second count against Shirley was dismissed due to the guilty plea. The count was for falsifying records during a subsequent investigation.

The former sheriff faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced, but that could be influenced by another incident Shirley was recently involved in regarding the case.

“While he was still sheriff, we believe that he attempted to influence a witness who would have been a witness against him at the trial in federal court,” said Ihlenfeld.

At this time a sentencing hearing has not been scheduled. Shirley will be free on bond, pending sentencing.

Shirley resigned from his former post last Friday.

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  • David

    Thank goodness for video cameras. Cops beating people, then alleging they "resisted arrest," is all too common.

  • Brian

    Give him the max!