CHARLESTON - Guilty plea hearings have been scheduled in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia for defendants C. Michael Sparks, the former Prosecuting Attorney for Mingo County, and Dallas Toler, who served as Chief Magistrate.
On October 9th, Federal Information Orders were filed against the two, accusing Toler of voter registration fraud that allegedly stemmed from the magistrate registering a man to vote who was a convicted felon that deemed him ineligible. The charge against Toler’s charge is identified as a felony offense. Sparks is said to have, under color of law, willfully and knowingly subjected a person to the deprivation of a right, privilege, and immunity secured and protected by the Constitution of the U.S., by depriving George White, a defendant arrested on drug charges, to counsel of his choice. The former prosecutor will be allowed to plea to a misdemeanor offense and has also agreed to the termination of his law license for a period of five years.
White and his first attorney, Charles “Butch” West, were said to have been providing information to federal investigators that was said to have linked former Sheriff Eugene Crum, who was shot and killed on April 3, to the drug deals within the county.
White alleged that Crum had purchased prescription pain pills from him on more than one occasion. When Crum became aware of the information being provided to the FBI by White, he supposedly spoke with Sparks and former Commissioner David Baisden and enlisted their help to develop a scheme that would pressure White into dropping West and hiring an attorney of their choice, in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Sparks is scheduled to enter a plea of guilty on November 18, at 1:30 p.m. before United States District Judge, Thomas E. Johnston. Toler will also appear before Judge Johnston on December 2, at 10 a.m. Neither defendant will be eligible to seek political office in the future.
The federal investigation continues into alleged corruption and wrong doing throughout numerous political offices and other Mingo County employees. According to sources inside the investigation, further arrests and/or indictments are expected in the near future.