CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Mayor Danny Jones is defending the work of the Charleston Police Department during the investigation into the case involving the son of state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman who had been accused of beating up his sister.
“We did our job,” Mayor Jones said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
A malicious wounding charge against Edward Gardner, 27, was dropped Wednesday after officials with the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office determined there was not enough evidence to pursue the case.
It stemmed from an Aug. 5 fight between Gardner and his sister, Lindsey Gardner, 29.
Chuck Miller, chief of staff for the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, said — upon further investigation — it came to light that Lindsey had tried to take a swing at her brother in the Quarry Creek area of Charleston, close to their mother’s house, after they both had gotten out of separate vehicles.
When she approached him, Miller said Edward Gardner pushed her away to defend himself and that was when she fell back and hit her head.
“We just didn’t have a case,” Miller said.
Originally, Lindsey Gardner had told a different story. She claimed her brother kicked her in the head three times and said he wanted to kill her. She was hospitalized because of a laceration to her head and a possible concussion.
Charleston Police said, despite what she told three people at the scene, Lindsey Gardner was not cooperative with police when they tried to question her at the hospital. Her mother, Justice Workman, was there.
It would be ten days before Lindsey Gardner gave a full statement to Charleston Police.
At that later date, she reportedly said she was “talking out of her head” when she first claimed her brother had attacked her. The only eyewitness to what happened was Edward Gardner’s girlfriend who was in his vehicle at the time.
“We went through the case, by the numbers, and looked at everything, examined every witness, looked through voluminous medical records to make sure that there was no evidence of any other injury to her head and, given her statement, that just kind of puts a hole in the case completely,” Miller said.
Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster has said he is “standing by the original police report.”
Of the charge being dropped, “Some of these other police officers are very taken aback by this,” Mayor Jones said. “They think the case ought to be allowed to proceed forward with what’s in their police reports and deal with the witnesses that are involved in that.”
Miller said it made sense to move quickly with the dismissal.
“This young man was scheduled to start medical school and, because of this charge, that admission to medical school was, sort of, on hold and it seemed important for us to resolve the case as quickly as possible to avoid that impact on him,” Miller said. “That is being denied admission to medical school.”
Tom Peyton, a Nitro attorney, said holding a preliminary hearing in Kanawha County Magistrate Court — the next usual step after an arrest — would have answered many of the questions that are now being raised.
“That hearing could have been handled very quickly,” Peyton said. “I guess what I would hope is that anybody who was in a similar situation as Edward Gardner, because of their work or whatever, would get the same consideration and I’m not 100 percent sure I’ve seen that in the past.”
The case was one of the main topics on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Justice Workman has not commented publicly about the matter.