Federal Investigation in Mingo County

October 8, 2013


Being a former resident of Mingo County I have naturally been following the investigation that is currently ongoing threw out the county. My first impression was great any wrong doers in the county government should be weeded out and dealt with accordingly. As the investigation has continued I have begun to have some questions.

Being a former resident, I am no stranger to the two party system in Mingo. You have the judge’s party and Sen. Truman Chafin’s party. This is nothing new to Mingo County, for many years we have had two factions of democrats who have battled for control of the political scene. The names have changed through the years, but it has been the same for decades.

Federal Investigations are nothing new here either. They are usually brought on by cries of fowl by one faction or the other. Normally individuals from both factions have had to answer to the feds for their misdeeds.

As the investigation has unfolded I have been waiting for the other foot to drop and someone from Team Chafin taking their turn in Charleston in front of the investigators. Are we to think that one faction is so utterly rotten and the other so squeaky clean? Isn’t this the same Truman Chafin that had his own scandals in the eighties and nineties? The same Truman Chafin that was implicated by Johnnie Owens in the sale of the sheriff’s office? It became clear to me that their just might be more questions that need answered before we swallow the story coming out of Charleston verbatim.

Why is the Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney, who was hailed a hero for tying up the loose ends that gave them Thornsbury, now being thrown under the bus and hounded relentlessly? Did George White receive a more favorable plea deal than Sparks gave other similarly charged defendants? If not then what was the reasoning behind the “White Conspiracy”.

Why would the judge, who just a few short months ago tearfully professed to the whole state what a fine man and true friend Sherriff Crum was, now throw his friend under the bus? Why did the judge take a plea deal that appears to be so much better than Commissioner Baisden received? Weren’t we told that the judge was the king pin in this crime ridden faction. Did he not relentlessly pursue an innocent man and attempt on more than one occasion to frame and incarcerate the man? Is this whole mess starting to feel more like a coup de’ tat, or an attempt to nullify the last election in Mingo County?

Did Team Chafin get defeated so handily in the last election that the only way they can ever hope to gain control is by removal of their opponents? Given Sen. Chafin’s lopsided losses in the last two elections, 800 and 1300 votes inside the boarders of Mingo County, could this be his last hope of control of the county?

If in fact this is a power play at least one more county commissioner and one magistrate would need to fall for total control to be achieved. If these two offices fall and they succeed in removing the prosecutor, then I think something just might be rotten in Mingo. I could only hope that the federal judges in the capital would take a closer look at these plea deals and the investigation as a whole.

I wonder what Sen. Chafin’s stance on Mingo County needing two judges is these days? Didn’t he in fact sponsor legislation some years back calling for two judges in Mingo?

Maybe I am just paranoid. As one who has always loved Mingo County and who will always call it home, I can only hope that Gov. Tomblin and the WV Supreme Court chooses wisely when appointing a new judge for Mingo County. Please do not replace one corrupt tyrant with another.

Let us further hope that our faith in our legal system is not diminished by more seemingly out of balance plea deals, and that no innocent individuals get caught up in this mess. Maybe some good journalist or law enforcement officer will get the answers to the questions put forth here.

God Bless Mingo County and the United States of America.

Krystal Cook

Pineville, WV.