CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A decision by a Kanawha County magistrate left Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster scratching his head.

Magistrate Tim Halloran abruptly ended a preliminary hearing for two men Thursday charged with malicious wounding and dismissed the charges finding no probable cause for their arrest.

“The officer was in the middle of his testimony, the way I understand it, when Magistrate Halloran said, ‘We’re shutting it down, I don’t want to hear any more, it’s dismissed.'” said Webster talking about the case on MetroNews Talkline. Friday “I’ve testified in those proceedings before and that to me seems very irregular.”

Kenneth Gooden and Carlos Short for a brief moment were off the hook, but city police and the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office kicked into high gear and managed to arrest the pair again before the left the South Central Regional Jail.

“Our experience would be they are probably a flight risk,” said Webster. “From a public safety standpoint we cared about that, and based on the fact these guys are from Detroit, we probably wouldn’t have seen them again.”

Gooden and Short are suspects in a shooting on Glenwood Street in Charleston last month. Numerous shots were fired, one of which hit innocent bystander Craig Tolley as he walked to his car near his home.

After their second arrest, bond for the two was lowered considerably from $100,000 to $25,000. Webster said that was disappointing, but at least they were in jail.

“From our point of view they are very dangerous individuals,” he said. “They should have their day in court, but it should not be like this.”

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  • DWL

    My next question would be, why and what changed for the 2nd magistrate to reduce the secondary bond from $100K to $25K. Something is fishy there also.

  • DWL

    I'd say part of this story is not being reported - by either side. The purpose behind a preliminary hearing is not to determine guilt, but to determine if probable cause exists to move the case to a grand jury to review. Did the officers deviate from their sworn affidavit on the warrant? For the warrant to have been issued, they had to swear that the officer, a prudent and cautious person, believed that the crime stated was committed by the person named in the warrant. For the magistrate to abruptly dismiss the charges, something irregular occurred, either in the officers' testimony, under the table in the magistrate's pocket, or maybe the magistrate's life or family were threatened. You are dealing with a crime syndicate with lots of money and tentacles.

  • Big Jim spade

    8 mile bloods is the gang from Detroit. A bigger threat is the "WONGS" gang from mercer county

  • Uncle Unctuous

    With respect to Chief Webster, he clearly wasn't there and doesn't say why this occurred. And the magistrate's side is untold. Could this be any more thinly reported?

  • Jason412

    If these guys are from such a powerful gang as is being constantly portrayed why did they not make bond in the first place? Bond through a bail bondsmen is 10% at most, maybe 5% in this state, so either $5,000 or $10,000 each.

    Especially now, if the individuals or their friends can't make 25,000 bond at the 5%-10% it really makes me wonder how strong can a gang be that doesn't have a few thousand dollars laying around to bail out the ones committing the crimes.

    When I lived in Ohio, the town I lived in had a very similar problem except the gangs were from Chicago. They would get arrested, be bailed out in 24 hours or less, and never seen again unless the U.S.Marshall's found them in Chicago.

    • Renee

      That is my concern, if they are soon released on bond then it could reveal just how much of this is organized crime. It's difficult to determine from what media has shared where they stand in this "hierarchy". It's only been about 24hrs! Hopefully it'll be until "That day in court"

      • Jason412


        I'd say the fact they're in WV and not Detroit shows they're probably at the bottom of the hierarchy.

        • Renee

          Yes! Good point

  • uncle phil

    Bill OReilly needs to pick this story up and take that libral judge DOWN!

    No spin zone! Here we come!!!!!

    • Joe

      Libral, is not the proper spelling of liberal. Just saying.

      • TB

        "Just saying" is not a proper sentence. Just saying!

  • Gibbs

    Sounds like Detroit got to the magistrate

  • John

    During the hearing, if the magistrate heard something that was not pertinent to the case, or something that may have been harmful to the case for either parties, then he/she has the right and duty to have it stricken from the records of the proceedings. But, for God's sake, don't dismiss the charges. A good lawyer could get these two off the hook by mere technicality, because you can't dismiss the charges and then bring them backup again in a magistrate's court. Thats the same a ruling not guilty.

    • David

      Wrong you can dismiss a criminal charge and then refile and prosecute. Dismissed is way different than not guilty

  • Renee

    Perhaps the magistrate is a coward and fears a hit on his life. I believe if the police were interrupted while trying to DO THEIR JOBS

    • Renee

      He had his mind made up before hearing the whole case. Even the prosecuting attorney, with Webster was shocked

  • Aaron

    From what I read, I get the impression that the magistrate did law enforcement as it appears to me as if he heard something potentially harmful to the case and as a result, dismissed those charges immediately. Given that the suspects were re-arrested before they could be released from South Central, it must have been a minor detail in the case but one that could have set them free had proceedings continued.

  • charles

    sounds to me like the cops did not do their job and the chief is trying to cover-up?

    • Jonus Grumby

      Let's say you are right. But why stop the proceeding before the conclusion? Nope. Ain't buying that one.

  • Renee

    And therein lies the problem, how many of these thugs were incarcerated and released already to get right back out there and without a consequence, obviously without a conscience , go right back to the streets and offend or perhaps kill another soul! This magistrate and his power play needs to be addressed.., who's team is he on? Or plain and simple, how about some common sense ?

  • RogerD

    Wow! This needs to be reported far and wide.

  • John

    Sounds to me like this magistrate needs to be removed from office for malfeasance of duty. How could he in good faith abruptly end the hearing without hearing all the testimony, and dismiss the charges? If there was no probable cause, then how could the prosecutor and city police re-arrest these two? On what charges? Something sound fishy about this whole deal. Keep up this type horse manure and those two will walk away scott free, even if they are guilty. Our judicial system never ceases to amaze me.

    • David

      Thats because our magistrates are out of there league. they have no law backround at all most don't even have a college degree. They are not equiped and knowledgeable enough to here these types of cases. Magistrate system is a joke

      • Pickle Barrel

        David is spot-on with his opinion on our magistrate system. It is chilling to think these folks are the ones issuing search warrants.

        • Renee

          Yes! Great point

  • Shawn H

    Sounds like some money changed hands.