CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Suspended Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring with other Mingo County officials to keep a man from reporting late Sheriff Eugene Crum’s alleged past drug purchases to the FBI. A guilty plea hearing was requested by federal prosecutors Thursday afternoon.

In a federal information case filed earlier Thursday, Thornsbury is accused of working with Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks, Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden, Crum and others to force the man, identified as G.W. in the information, to fire his attorney and end his cooperation with federal investigators.

G.W. is George White who was operating a sign business in Delbarton.

(Read the federal case against Judge Thornsbury here.)

Federal documents revealed Crum owed White $3,000 for election signs and other materials he bought on credit before being elected in 2012.  In January of this year, after Crum became sheriff, he allegedly sent a confidential police informant to White to buy oxycodone and later got a search warrant for his business.

A Mingo County grand jury indicted White on the resulting drug charge at the end of January.

After his arrest, White hired Charles “Butch” West, identified as C.W. in the information, to represent him. Prosecutors said West and White first met with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in February to report that “on multiple occasions prior to his arrest, he (White) unlawfully provided Crum with prescription narcotic pills at Crum’s request.”

Crum’s alleged oxycodone buys happened while he was a Mingo County magistrate, prior to being elected sheriff.

Thornsbury’s role in the alleged conspiracy started in March when he allegedly promised a lighter sentence for the drug charge if White fired West as counsel. White agreed to hire an attorney Thornsbury and the others approved, thus ending cooperation with the FBI.

According to the federal case, “The sign-maker went in front of the judge and there was an agreement that the law would go easier on him as result of his agreement to cooperate in this fashion,” said Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for West Virginia’s Southern District.

Crum was shot and killed while eating lunch near the Mingo County Courthouse on April 3. Tennis Maynard of Delbarton is charged with Crum’s murder. On Wednesday, Sparks recused himself from the Maynard case citing “an emerging conflict of interest.”

Thornsbury was previously charged with violating the Constitutional rights of the husband of his ex-mistress over a span of years. He allegedly abused his judicial power to target the man. Federal officials said his guilty plea will be for the information issued Thursday.

The next step for Thornsbury, who is the only elected official charged in the information, will be a plea hearing.

“Unless and until a federal judge passes on the plea, it’s not a done deal,” said Goodwin on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

A plea hearing is already in the process of being scheduled for Baisden, charged separately with extortion for allegedly ending Mingo County’s business with Appalachian Tire when his request for the county price for tires for his personal vehicle was denied.

Kyle Lovern with the Williamson Daily News said the ongoing federal investigation could mark a change in Mingo County.  “We’re hoping that this will clean out the courthouse, get rid of the political slates and we can get some good, honest politicians in some of these positions and do some good for Mingo County,” he said.

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  • Backwards

    Goodwin for US Senate! Forget Tennant and Capito.


    We are fast becoming one of the most corrupt states in the union. Every layer, every politician, every appointee, every elected official, businesses, etc. Unbelievable! And our governor or attorney general won't do one darn thing to prosecute any of them in this state.

  • SC

    I recall a few years ago when a certain judge gave my ex husband the "bootstrap" lecture, maybe it's time to pull his own bootstraps up and be a man and admit what he has done. SMH!!!!

  • Dale

    What happened to Thornsbury's quote when asked about his indictment "I'm ABSOULETY NOT GUILTY""????

  • Brad

    Mingo County has always been a Democrat cesspool.

    • Nick

      They are Republican at heart and voting. They only run as Democrats to get elected. I ran into a Republican at a rich doctor party and he laughed and said that he was running as a democrat to get elected. He also said he hated democrats.

      • Larry

        That sounds untrue.

  • wvtd

    justice in America is no longer blind unless you are wealthy.

  • Monty

    To think that this man with his, further established, history of corruption presiding over the Kangaroo Court for the Thirtieth Judicial Circus of the sovereign state of West Virginia, will get away with so much while the full extent of the travesties and corruption will never be brought to light as a result of his guilty plea.

    Does it not seem even more suspicious to those outside of Mingo Co. than it did in April when this man, then circuit judge, rushed from his office down to the crime scene just minutes after shots were fired. WTF!?

    The lead U.S. Attorney is a good man from a good family, he's a good one (no pun intended:) but, offering such a plea at this point will not be an adequate remedy for the entrenched corruption in Mingo Co. and throughout WV.

    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Justice is not adequately served without further investigation, further prosecution, and a closer approximation to the whole truth.

  • rose

    Be sure your sin will find you out.

    That's what Billy Graham always preaches.

  • Curly Joe

    Need to give Mingo County to KY...and throw in 25 cents so KY can say they got something out of the deal. What a stinking mess.

    • Larry

      If KY will agree to provide "The Tooth" with hair dye for life, a deal may be in the works.

    • ss

      That's a joke! Pike county is just as bad! They just haven't been caught yet!

  • Jim G.

    It is looking more all the time like ole Sheriff Crum was a drug abusing rapist who may have liked boys too. Hardly the hero sheriff who was praised at the time of his death. The corruption in this county needs to see the light of day and those guilty of abusing the public trust and violating civil rights need long jail sentences to serve as examples.

    • jws

      mr.crum dead and cannot take up for himself,they got mad because he bussed for drugs dealer then they did,u judge a man when he is dead god said who is man enough to throw the frist stone,they don't care what the judge and spark, rockel ,welfare office taking kids awayfor money why don't thefbi look in to that,williamson will always be Williamson they did this all my life I leave here the people that hadkids took for money or no reason should have their right to speak

    • John Ellis

      Jim G. your words of Eugene Crum are stupid and without merit. I want you to know that as long as you live I will never forgive or forget, the words you have said do you not have any respect for the dead? Eugene Crum was a good man. Anyone can say anything he's not here to defend himself so it takes a big man to talk about a dead man. I'll tell you one thing they never spoke this talk when he was alive, and I promise you if you had you still would not be standing up Eugene would have clean the floor with your butt.

      • Jim G.

        I'm 6'3" 245 lbs.(some would say I'm pretty big man) and have always been able to take care of myself in a fair fight. My only fear would be that he would use a taser on me, probably while my back was turned and then rape me. His interest in the male anatomy appears to extend further than floor cleaning. He had "sex" (I'll use that term loosely) with an intoxicated (5 times the legal limit) 19 year old woman in the back of a police cruiser while two "officers" were in the front seat. I guess she's lucky they didn't turn it into a gang bang. He was buying dope all the while he was crusading against drugs. More will come out I'm sure. He was a corrupt hypocrite at the minimum. Yeah he was a good man........good for nothing

        • Nick

          There are good police officers. The majority are good. Yet where I live a bunch let woman off of their crimes by making them perform sexual acts. Just the other day a police officer pulled this guy over in a drug infested area and charged him with driving revoked. His old lady was given a ride home by the officer and you know what happend. The next day her boyfriend was out of jail. This stuff happens too much for it to be people lying.

      • Nick

        Ole my gosh John Ellis is not going to forgive you...Look Crum was as currupt as it gets. The evidence will come out that he was using oxycodone and most likely partying with prostitutes. Eric Holder will make sure the good old boy system won't protect those involved.

      • Mark A

        Are you saying if a citizen exercised his right to free speech that Mr Crum would have assaulted him? Would that be any way for a elected official who is supposed to enforce the laws to act?

    • realitycheck

      time to clean house. get rid of all of them.

  • pc

    Yet, our wannabe U.S. Senator as Secretary of State found no problems with the elections in such counties as Mingo, Logan, Lincoln, etc.

  • JS

    Need to have a state takeover of Mingo County. Might as well go into Logan as well since it has been so corrupt since I can remember.

  • Spooh

    I'm sure there are other tangled webs all over the state of W.V. that need to be brought to the light besides in Mingo Co. I agree that the school systems to do need help here but corruption is everywhere!

  • ConservativeRealist

    Now we know why the Prosecutor recused himself in the Crum murder trial...

  • Cooter

    Oh, what a tangled web of disgusting crap they weave down in Mingo County. Another story, someone had a good idea: like the school systems, the state needs to come in and take over the management and legal related functions of this county, bringing in outsiders who aren't part of the corruption.

    • Nick

      I agree...Thornbury could have sent an innocent man to jail. He tried to take the man's wife. I want to see him sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison.