SPENCER, W.Va. — New Roane County Sheriff Bo Williams was arrested Tuesday afternoon in connection with allegedly stealing drug evidence from the Spencer Police Department when he was an officer there.
Williams turned himself in to troopers in Calhoun County. He is charged with grand larceny. He posted bond Tuesday evening.
Williams, who was elected by voters in November before news surfaced concerning the grand larceny investigation, was sworn-in to office as sheriff last week but holding the office may be short-lived.
Court documents indicate methamphetamines and a pipe to smoke the drugs went missing from the evidence locker. Those items were reportedly discovered in the trunk of Williams’ cruiser. He resigned his position with the Spencer Police Department last month amid the investigation.
Ahead of his taking the oath of office, the Roane County prosecutor sought and received a temporary injunction to bar Williams from the law enforcement and tax offices of the sheriff’s department at the Roane County Courthouse.
“That is where the evidence is stored here in the sheriff’s department,” said Roane County Prosecuting Attorney Josh Downey. “Having a duty to prosecute criminal cases in Roane County, that duty would be harmed if he’s allowed into that office due to that it could taint evidence.”
Chief Circuit Judge R. Craig Tatterson will hold a hearing on a permanent injunction to bar the sheriff from the offices of the county Wednesday at 3 p.m.
The temporary injunction was served to Williams last Friday. Tuesday, the Roane County Commission passed a resolution to begin the process of removing Williams from office.
“The allegation in that resolution is that Sheriff Williams is suffering from a methamphetamine addiction,” Downey said. “That’s based on an admission he made back in November of 2016.”
The next step in the removal process will be a hearing on the resolution before a circuit judge. No date for the hearing is set. If the judge finds sufficient evidence to continue the matter it will be forwarded to the Supreme Court which would appoint a three judge panel to hear evidence as to why the sheriff should be removed. The three judge panel would consider the evidence and make their recommendation to the state Supreme Court.
The Roane County Commission also named Todd Cole Tuesday to serve as the county’s chief deputy. Cole remains largely in charge of law enforcement operations for the time being.
“Todd Cole has been the sheriff in the past and served a total of ten years,” said Downey. “Our law enforcement is in capable hands.”
Cole’s most recent tenure as Roane County Sheriff ended on Dec. 31. He previously was elected sheriff for two terms from 2000-2008 and was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of another sheriff who left for health reasons in 2014. He chose not to seek reelection this year, but agreed to stay on until the situation with the current sheriff is resolved if the county commission wanted him. Cole has been in law enforcement for 28 years.