August 21, 2012
WILLIAMSON - A West Virginia licensed Private Investigator and 2012 candidate for sheriff in May’s primary election appeared in Mingo Magistrate Court Tuesday afternoon, escorted there by West Virginia State Police Captain D.M. Nelson, where he was then served with an arrest warrant by Williamson City Police Chief C.D. Rockel that charged him with two felony counts of conspiracy to disclose intercept.
According to information provided by Chief Rockel, the charges against Donald Roy Stevens, who resides at Lenore and operates a private investigator business on Logan Street in Williamson, stemmed from a recent drug arrest that yielded information and proof of an illegal wire-tapping of an official police investigation.
The criminal complaint filed against Stevens reads as follows:
“On or about August 3, 2012, a co-defendant Christina Tidwell along with Christopher Cline, did by way of phone and computer device, record a private and privileged conversation and/or interview stemming from a criminal investigation between Mingo County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Sherrill, Mingo County Special Investigator Eugene Crum and James Cline.
Tidwell knowingly taped the conversation between the victims while at the residence of James Cline on Logan Street, at the direction of Christopher Cline. Cline, knowing that he was not privileged to the communication, then instructed Tidwell to use her computer to tape the conversation and to not hang up. Cline then places the phone down, unbeknown to the victims and without their permission, and furthermore, leaves the room while Tidwell records and captures communication from her residence located at 1181 Vinson Street.
Tidwell later attempted to copy the ill-gotten recordings for disclosure after Don Stevens approached her in an attempt to obtain the recordings content, and furthermore provided Tidwell with electronic device to do so.”
This report was based on information Chief Rockel’s investigation revealed, along with that provided by Special Investigator Eugene Crum.
“To break all of this down, Don Stevens tried to obtain information from an illegal wiretap and was attempting to disclose it to another,” stated Rockel.
Rockel told the Daily News that Stevens had contacted him on Monday, inquiring about the investigation and the alleged warrant against him.
“I told him I could not confirm or deny any information or speak with him about the case at all until he was arrested and read his rights,” said the chief. “I encouraged him to go ahead and come to the office and turn himself in and he refused, saying that if he was going to turn himself in to anyone, it would be to a federal agent.”
“Today, I got a call telling me that WVSP Captain Dave Nelson and another individual were walking up the steps of the Municipal Building with Don Stevens.”
“I was never contacted that they were bringing him in, and I was the one with the original arrest warrant for Stevens,” commented Rockel. “I came over to magistrate court and was informed that the defendant had gone to the WVSP Detachment and had been brought in by Nelson, but he had not been arrested or read his rights.”
WVSP Captain Dave Nelson said that he did escort Stevens to magistrate court after he came to the Williamson office, but stated that the arrest would be conducted by Chief Rockel, that it was not his warrant or his investigation.
Stevens was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler who set bail at $6,000, and was released from custody after bond requirements were met.
The investigation into the alleged wiretapping incident remains open at this time, and is under the direction of Rockel and Special Investigator Crum.