WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – The news and sports editor of the Williamson Daily News says former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury did run Mingo County like “Boss Hog,” the notorious character depicted in the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
“He’s one of the ringleaders,” said Kyle Lovern of Thornsbury on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “I still think there are others. For months now, we’ve heard the rumors that there will be more indictments with other elected officials involved, so everyone is wondering when that’s going to occur.”
On Monday, Thornsbury was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Charleston to 50 months in prison for violating a Delbarton man’s Constitutional rights as part of a scheme to protect late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum from a federal drug investigation.
The only circuit judge in Mingo County, Thornsbury helped force George White to switch attorneys, plead guilty to a drug charge and spend almost 300 days in jail.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston called Thornsbury’s conduct “appalling and unacceptable,” claimed he ran the Williamson courthouse “like the regime of a Third World dictator” and said the sentence he was imposing on Thornsbury went beyond sentencing guidelines to “send a message.”
The sentence, which did reflect Thornsbury’s cooperation with federal investigations, was still double the recommendation.
Michael Sparks, former Mingo County prosecuting attorney, is now scheduled to be sentenced on July 7 for his role in that scheme.
“Most people think there are others involved who are elected officials and that there are other things that have happened. There’s ongoing investigations, some things that will come out, hopefully, in the future,” Lovern said.
“Let’s hope that that does happen because we’d like to see a real clean sweep here.”
In March, Dallas Toler, 45, a former chief magistrate in Mingo County, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for knowingly registering a convicted felon to vote in 2012. That person voted for “Team Mingo,” a slate of candidates that included Toler and the others charged.
In January, David Baisden, 67, a former Mingo County commissioner, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for attempted extortion.