WILLIAMSON - George Ruben White, 65, of Delbarton, was arraigned again Thursday morning in Mingo County Circuit Court on charges that have been at the center of a federal investigation since the spring of 2013.
White, who was arrested and indicted in January of last year and sentenced to federal prison on a guilty plea that was thrown out by Interim Circuit Judge John Cummings, now stands charged with two separate counts that he had not entered a plea to in the past.
White was arraigned and entered “not guilty” pleas to charges of delivery of Oxycodone (a schedule II controlled substance) to a confidential informant and possession of Oxycodone and Morphine (schedule II substances) with intent to deliver.
White’s jury trial has been set for 9 a.m. April 14. The final date for any motions in the case is Feb. 24.
“I can tell you gentlemen that I’m not likely to grant any continuances,” Cummings said.
Legal counsel for the defendant, Charles “Butch” West and David Varney, requested an extension to have more time to decide whether a change of venue was something they wanted to pursue, and were told that if they decided to enter that motion, they had until Feb. 1 to make it.
“I wasn’t aware you were considering going that route,” the judge said.
“We’ve made no decisions thus far in this matter, your honor, but we want to further research the idea to see if it is an avenue we should venture down,” Varney said.
White had been arrested after allegedly selling drugs to an undercover informant sent to his home by former Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, a longtime friend of the defendant’s who was fatally shot last April 2, while eating lunch in his police cruiser.
Shortly after White’s arrest, he and his attorney (West) began sharing information with federal investigators, claiming that he had provided Crum with prescription pills while he was serving as magistrate.
Allegedly, when Crum became aware of what was happening, he enlisted the assistance of other county officials to help him to devise a scheme to convince White to fire his attorney and hire one of Team Mingo’s liking, and halt his cooperation with the feds, in exchange for a lesser sentence.
In 2013, former circuit court Judge Michael Thornsbury pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiring to violate White’s constitutional rights, while former prosecutor C. Michael Sparks pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for the same offense.
Although White fired West and hired Ronald J. Rumora during the course of his plea, he rehired West after being set free on bond, pending the outcome of this case. Shortly before the hearing in which the plea was thrown out, Varney was added as second attorney for the defense. Boone County Prosecutor Keith Randolph was appointed to represent the state in this case.
White remains free on a $25,000 surety bond at this time.