MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WYMT/WSAZ) - A member of recent Mingo County Grand Jury is now in jail for contempt of court, accused of warning someone they were about to be indicted.
According to court documents, Leanna Richardson, 21, of Mingo County, was found in contempt of court for "improper disclosures and violations of secrecy of the Grand Jury."
Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks tells WSAZ.com that up to four people have admitted they knew in advance they had been or were going to be indicted by the grand jury.
Sparks says that Dawn Marcum, who was indicted last month on drug and conspiracy charges, told investigators that Richardson informed her she was on the list.
Sparks also tells WSAZ.com that that Emery Marcum and Marvin Vance told investigators that they also knew they were being indicted on drug charges. The two did not say how they learned the information.
The Prosecutor says Emery Marcum fled the area after learning he faced charges. He has since turned himself in.
According to Sparks, Richardson claims she was approached by someone on the list asking if they were facing charges. He says Richardson then failed to tell the judge about the incident, which violated a court directive.
Richardson was summonsed to court on Tuesday for the contempt hearing. After showing up late, she was sentenced to 10 days in jail, the maximum penalty on a contempt charge.
The Mingo County Sheriff's Office is still questioning Richardson and the others about the incident.
Sparks says this is the first time they have had a situation like this and his office believes there needs to be stiffer penalties for such incidents in the future.
His office is now working with a West Virginia House of Delegates member to get a new statute passed with stiffer penalties.