Sentencing hearing for ex-prosecutor delayed

Rachel Dove rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

June 10, 2014

By Rachel Dove


CHARLESTON - The sentencing of the former prosecuting attorney of Mingo County has been rescheduled for next month, making the third time it has been postponed.

C. Michael Sparks pleaded guilty last year to one count of deprivation of rights under the color of law, a misdemeanor. He faces a maximum one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Sparks had been scheduled for sentencing in federal court next Monday, but U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston has now moved it to July 7. The judge said he moved the hearing “for reasons appearing to the court.” The former prosecutor recently had knee surgery and speculation is that concerns for his health may have been behind the postponement.

Earlier this year, Sparks’ attorney requested the date be moved because of a scheduling conflict. In April, Johnston entered a similar order as the one filed Monday.

Federal prosecutors have asked the judge to give Sparks the maximum prison term for his part in a scheme to protect Mingo County’s late sheriff Eugene Crum. Prosecutors previously said they plan to file a substantial-assistance motion because of Sparks’ cooperation in the ongoing political corruption investigation.

Michael Thornsbury, Mingo County’s former circuit judge, who pleaded guilty to a felony, also admitted to participating in the plot to keep Delbarton resident George White from telling federal agents he gave prescription painkillers to former sheriff Eugene Crum. Thornsbury was sentenced Monday to 50 months in federal prison.