There is not much that can be salvaged from the still-smoldering home on Meathouse Fork Road in Canada, KY.
Neighbors say the fire that started at around sun-rise raises questions.
“I know a lot of people didn’t like the man very well,” says Corey Mateny, who is connected to the Thornsbury only through marriage. “It don’t surprise me. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of corruption around here. A lot of things are messed up, and action needs to be taken.”
Action is being taken regarding alleged crimes from the past.
Thornsbury is accused of trying to frame his ex-lover’s husband in several schemes.
Mateny joins other neighbors in wondering if Thornsbury is trying to hide anything else about an investigation that names several officials.
A man and woman on scene this afternoon, say they are relatives of Judge Thornsbury’s, but have no comment.
Outside the local grocery store, we meet Joe Dotson, who says Thornsbury represented him years ago when Thornsbury was still an attorney.
Dotson, hesitant to jump to conclusions, says he’s going to wait and see, and not speculate as to whether this fire was an accident, revenge, or a favor.
“Well, it’ll all come out in the wash. Whatever went on, it’ll all come out in the wash,” says Dotson. “You can’t really say who’s right, who’s wrong, or what’s going on, or this that or the other.”
An investigation by Kentucky State Police and federal investigators is ongoing.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Suspended Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring with other Mingo County officials to keep a man from reporting late Sheriff Eugene Crum’s alleged past drug purchases to the FBI. A guilty plea hearing was requested by federal prosecutors Thursday afternoon.

In a federal information case filed earlier Thursday, Thornsbury is accused of working with Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks, Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden, Crum and others to force the man, identified as G.W. in the information, to fire his attorney and end his cooperation with federal investigators.

G.W. is George White who was operating a sign business in Delbarton.

(Read the federal case against Judge Thornsbury here.)

Federal documents revealed Crum owed White $3,000 for election signs and other materials he bought on credit before being elected in 2012.  In January of this year, after Crum became sheriff, he allegedly sent a confidential police informant to White to buy oxycodone and later got a search warrant for his business.

A Mingo County grand jury indicted White on the resulting drug charge at the end of January.

After his arrest, White hired Charles “Butch” West, identified as C.W. in the information, to represent him. Prosecutors said West and White first met with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in February to report that “on multiple occasions prior to his arrest, he (White) unlawfully provided Crum with prescription narcotic pills at Crum’s request.”

Crum’s alleged oxycodone buys happened while he was a Mingo County magistrate, prior to being elected sheriff.

Thornsbury’s role in the alleged conspiracy started in March when he allegedly promised a lighter sentence for the drug charge if White fired West as counsel. White agreed to hire an attorney Thornsbury and the others approved, thus ending cooperation with the FBI.

According to the federal case, “The sign-maker went in front of the judge and there was an agreement that the law would go easier on him as result of his agreement to cooperate in this fashion,” said Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for West Virginia’s Southern District.

Crum was shot and killed while eating lunch near the Mingo County Courthouse on April 3. Tennis Maynard of Delbarton is charged with Crum’s murder. On Wednesday, Sparks recused himself from the Maynard case citing “an emerging conflict of interest.”

Thornsbury was previously charged with violating the Constitutional rights of the husband of his ex-mistress over a span of years. He allegedly abused his judicial power to target the man. Federal officials said his guilty plea will be for the information issued Thursday.

The next step for Thornsbury, who is the only elected official charged in the information, will be a plea hearing.

“Unless and until a federal judge passes on the plea, it’s not a done deal,” said Goodwin on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

A plea hearing is already in the process of being scheduled for Baisden, charged separately with extortion for allegedly ending Mingo County’s business with Appalachian Tire when his request for the county price for tires for his personal vehicle was denied.

Kyle Lovern with the Williamson Daily News said the ongoing federal investigation could mark a change in Mingo County.  “We’re hoping that this will clean out the courthouse, get rid of the political slates and we can get some good, honest politicians in some of these positions and do some good for Mingo County,” he said.


Rachel Dove-Baldwin

Staff Writer

WILLIAMSON — According to the Mingo County Magistrate Court docket for  Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 27 and 28, Magistrate Dee Sidebottom was scheduled  to preside over criminal cases in the courtroom.

However, Magistrate Pam Newsome was on the bench in her place, after a motion  was filed in Mingo County Circuit Court requesting that Sidebottom be  disqualified from hearing cases that are litigated by the Mingo County  Prosecuting Attorneys Office.

The motion for disqualification, filed by Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney  C. Michael Sparks, is listed in its entirety, as follows:

Pursuant to Rule 1B of the WV Administrative Rules for the Magistrates  Courts, Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney, C. Michael Sparks, hereby affirms in  good faith as follows:

1. Magistrate Sidebottom has recently engaged in a course of increasingly  unprofessional and paranoid misconduct in violation of Canon 2A, 2B, 3B(2),  3B(4), 3B(5) and 3B(8) of the WV Code of Judicial Conduct.

2. On November 27,2012, Magistrate Sidebottom refused to accept written plea  agreements and obstinately proceeded to a preliminary hearing because I was  unavailable to immediately sign a dismissal form in State of WV vs. Michael  Cline (12F-522 and 523) and State of WV vs. Erica Stanley (12F-544 and 545).  Magistrate Sidebottom was timely advised by my legal assistant that I was  contemporaneously participating in an abuse and neglect proceeding. Magistrate  Sidebottom is well aware by virtue of her considerable judicial experience that  abuse and neglect proceedings take judicial priority over misdemeanor criminal  proceedings. Nevertheless, Magistrate Sidebottom refused to wait until the abuse  and neglect proceeding concluded and vaguely commented in open court about a  prior newspaper comment attributed to me.

3. Magistrate Sidebottom recently dismissed several criminal cases with  prejudice (meaning they cannot be reinstated or brought up again) simply because  the assistant prosecuting attorney or investigating officer was late. While  tardiness is inexcusable, the extraordinary sanction of dismissing a criminal  case with prejudice epitomizes judicial impatience, prevents an ultimate  adjudication on the merits and is inconsistent with the public interest in the  fair administration of justice. Even more troublesome, Magistrate Sidebottom, in  an effort to instigate public clamor, openly engaged in indecorous grandstanding  on the bench by punitively criticizing the Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney’s  Office and other law enforcement agencies in the presence of litigants and  courtroom observers.

4. Magistrate Sidebottom habitually dismisses criminal cases if the  investigating officer is unable to attend the pretrial conference even when the  investigating officer has no testimonial or other responsibilities that could  necessitate attendance. The primary purpose of pretrial conferences in Mingo  County Magistrate Court is to facilitate pretrial dispositions, which can be  accomplished without the attendance of the investigating officer.

5. Multiple law enforcement officers from multiple law enforcement agencies  (Mingo County Sheriff’s Department, Williamson Police Department, Gilbert Police  Department and Matewan Police Department) do not trust Magistrate Sidebottom and  have requested that I seek disqualification of Magistrate Sidebottom due to  previous manifestations of petty and purposeful bias and impropriety. Magistrate  Sidebottom appears to have particular animosity toward Mingo County  Sheriff-elect Eugene Crum, who assumes office on January 1, 2013.

6. Magistrate Sidebottom recently alleged that I was partly responsible for  Magistrate Sidebottom’s recent third place finish among the incumbent  magistrates in the general election.

7. (Redacted by the Court Order).

8. Magistrate Sidebottom has permitted interrelationship and political  conflicts to negatively interfere with Magistrate Sidebottom’s ability to remain  impartial while fulfilling judicial responsibilities.

Wherefore, I respectfully request the disqualification of Magistrate Deloris  D. Sidebottom from all cases litigated by the Mingo County Prosecuting  Attorney’s Office.

The motion was signed, C. Michael Sparks, Esq., Mingo County Prosecuting  Attorney and was dated November 27, 2012.

In her answer to the motion for disqualification, Magistrate Sidebottom  denied any and all statements listed in paragraphs 1-8. She further stated that  she was served the above motion on Nov. 28 at 3:19 p.m. but was not in her  office until 8:30 the following morning to actually receive the motion, and said  that her detailed response will follow in a timely manner.

It is unclear at this time what steps will be taken regarding this motion, as  well as to how the magistrate court dockets will be heard. The apparent choices  would be to split the criminal cases between Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler and  Pam Newsome and have Magistrate Sidebottom oversee civil cases until this matter  is resolved, or a senior status magistrate may have to be appointed if the  caseload becomes too heavy.

However; no decisions have been made at this time nor has Circuit Judge  Michael Thornsbury made a ruling on whether to approve or not approve the  proposed motion made by Sparks.

More information on this motion to disqualify will be released to the public  as it becomes available.

Read more:  The Williamson Daily News – Motion entered to have magistrate disqualified

Matewan Shootout Video Watch it Here

Click the link to watch the video I believe its a clip from the movie MATEWAN

A tax break given by the Mingo County Commission to a mining equipment operator may be headed to court, following a rebuke by the state tax department.

Coal operator Clayton Cline, owner of Triple C Equipment based in Gilbert, asked the Mingo commission to remove $1.8 million worth of mining equipment from his property tax ticket on Feb. 20, 2008.

Cline made his request when the commission was meeting as the Board of Equalization and Review. Triple C Equipment saved $35,000 in property taxes when the commission ruled in Cline’s favor.

Earlier this month, State Tax Commissioner Christopher G. Morris wrote to Mingo County Assessor Ramona Mahon, stating the equipment — an underground Joy mining machine and a coal-feeding machine — were “in the possession of [Triple C Equipment] on July 1, 2007, and were taxable for the 2008 tax year.”

Cline argued his company should not be taxed because the equipment was never used and later sold to another coal company. A mining operation where Cline planned to use the new equipment apparently never opened.

Mingo County Sheriff Lonnie Hannah, who also serves as county treasurer, said, “You can own a car or a boat and never use it. But you still owe [property] taxes.”

After buying the equipment in July 2006, Hannah said, Triple C sold it in September 2007 for $2.05 million.

Minutes from the Feb. 20 meeting noted, “Cline states he ordered the equipment [that] sat in the warehouse until it was sold to Gatling LLC from Beckley.”

Jerry Maynard, who represented the state Tax Department during the Feb. 20 meeting, told the Mingo County Commission that Cline’s request, if granted, would violate state law.

Maynard, according to the meeting’s minutes, pointed out, “Cline was charged [for] the equipment because he owned it [on] July 1, 2007, and anything owned must be paid on because it was not sold until September 2007.

“Commissioner [Greg ‘Hootie’] Smith stated that Cline had been a very good taxpayer and this is the first time he has appeared before the Board of Equalization in all his years of being in the coal industry and feels that since the miner was bought and sold soon after … having never been used.

“Commissioner Smith made a motion to exonerate the entire tax ticket for Triple C Equipment due to the equipment being stored only, was not used and has now been sold,” the minutes state.

County Commissioner David L. Baisden seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. John Mark Hubbard, the third county commissioner, was then president of Persinger Supply Co., which sold equipment to mining companies.

On Friday, Smith said, “I won’t be able to give any comments on this because I just got a letter the other day from an attorney named Irwin L. Conrad saying that he is going to litigate this matter … regarding the [state Tax] Commissioner’s letter.

“So since it’s going to be in litigation, I’m not going to be able to comment,” Smith said.

On Tuesday, Mingo County Assessor Ramona Mahon’s office referred all questions about the Triple C dispute to the Mingo County Commission. On Friday, Mahon was unavailable for comment, her secretary said, because she was attending the state high school basketball tournament in Charleston.

Cline could not be reached at his company offices in Gilbert.

Victory Lane US 119, Lacy Muncy

It has been reported to that this station was still selling the bath salt drug as well as other synthetic drugs. Public servants should know better than this. Legal for now or not, this drug is doing extreme harm to the community.

FRIDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) — An influx of highly hallucinogenic, potentially lethal but — in most states — fully legal drugs sold as “bath salts” has law enforcement and drug abuse experts very concerned.

According to Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center, in the first month of 2011, there have already been 248 bath salts-linked calls nationwide from at least 25 states, compared to 234 calls during the whole of 2010.

The $20 packets are available in corner stores, truck stops and on the Internet, and marketed as bath salts or sometimes plant food and come with the (often-ignored) disclaimer, “not for human consumption.” They’re not subject to regulation even though they contain various potent chemicals, including mephedrone, which is a stimulant.

“It’s a derivative that’s very similar to amphetamines, and its side effects are largely the same side effects we see with amphetamines in large dose,” said Jeffrey Baldwin, professor of pharmacy practice and pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, which seems not to have experienced this scourge — at least not yet. “[Those side effects] would be increased heart rate and blood pressure, not sleeping, not eating and eventually becoming paranoid.”

The “salts” come with gentle-sounding names like Ivory Wave and Vanilla Sky and are typically snorted, smoked, injected and even mixed with water as a beverage.

“If you take the very worst of some of the other drugs — LSD and Ecstasy with their hallucinogenic-delusional type properties, PCP with extreme agitation, superhuman strength and combativeness, as well as the stimulant properties of cocaine and meth — if you take all the worst of those and put them all together this is what you get. It’s ugly,” added Ryan, who recounted some harrowing stories.

“The psychosis is impressive,” he said.

One man barricaded himself in an attic with a rifle, Ryan said, vowing to “kill the monsters before they kill me,” while another user vowed to remove their own liver with a mechanical pencil.

The products have also been linked to suicides, not to mention hospitalizations, and on Tuesday investigators confirmed the presence of bath salt drugs in the blood of a man who killed a sheriff’s deputy in Tippah County, Miss., ABC News reported.

Once an addled user gets to the emergency room, they’re not controllable with normal sedatives such as valium, even in high doses, Ryan noted.

And when doctors try to wean patients off stronger sedatives or even antipsychotic medications, they just become uncontrollable again. “The longest I heard was someone who was sedated for 12 days and the psychosis came right back,” Ryan said. “The huge concern is the possibility that some of these effects could be permanent. We don’t know because we’ve never tested it on humans.”

At least with older drugs, sedation works and the patient returns to “normal,” at least until they hit the streets again.

Also worrisome is the fact that while all of the products “have the same basic chemical structure,” small changes in the chemical composition give you different side effects, which clinicians then have to learn how to deal with.

Despite these trips — which users readily admit are horrible — the cravings are so intense they often go back to the drug.

Louisiana has already banned the products, via a decree from the governor’s office that recently made them a Schedule 1 substance, putting them in the same class as heroin. Now law enforcement officials in that state — and Florida, which enacted a similar decree — can do more than just charge people with a misdemeanor for using or selling the fake bath salts.

Federal regulation of the products could take much longer. “We are actively studying and researching the abuse data to see if [the compounds in ‘bath salts’] warrant scheduling. We evaluate the addictive potential and the harm to the user,” explained Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). “But we are not the only agency involved — the Department of Health and Human Services is also involved. It can take years, though it may not.”

The agency is also looking into whether it should try to get a 12-month emergency rule to control the substances, he said.

In the meantime, lawmakers in Mississippi are close to enacting a ban on the bath salt drugs there, and this week a measure to outlaw the products neared passage in Kentucky, according to the AP.

New York Senator Charles Schumer has also called for a ban on the products and White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske spoke out against the products earlier this week.

But officials and doctors may still be facing an uphill battle.

When the ban in Louisiana went into effect, “calls dropped off the cliff but in the last four days we’ve had one each day, so it’s starting again,” Ryan said. In part, people are getting around the ban by ordering the products off the Internet and having them shipped to neighboring Mississippi, which has not yet outlawed them.