Magistrate decides not to advance criminal charges against former Richwood police chief

SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — A Nicholas County magistrate decided Wednesday not to advance criminal charges against a former Richwood police chief to the grand jury.

After considering testimony Wednesday in a preliminary hearing for Lloyd Allen Cogar, Nicholas County Magistrate Michael Hanks ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to forward the charges to a grand jury.

Cogar and three other current and former city officials were charged in late March following an investigation by the state Auditor’s Office Public and Integrity and Fraud Unit.

Cogar was charged with using his state-issued purchasing card to buy tires and services at “Allen’s Discount Tire Store,” which he owns. Hanks heard from witnesses Wednesday afternoon but ruled there was no probable cause to allow the charges to advance.

Prosecutors could still decide to take the charges against Cogar to the grand jury even without it being bound over by the magistrate.

Bob Henry Baber

Hanks did find probable cause Wednesday in the case against former Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber in connection with flood recovery money.

Baber is charged with fraud and embezzlement for allegedly making dozens of inappropriate purchases on his state-issued purchasing card. He is also accused of issuing himself a City of Richwood check for a period for flood work for the week before and the week after he became mayor.

Two other defendants in the Richwood financial investigation, sitting Mayor Chris Drennen and former town clerk Abigail McClung waived their preliminary hearings Wednesday. The charges against them will go straight to the grand jury for consideration.

The next meeting of the Nicholas County grand jury is scheduled for September.

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