UPDATE: Temporary replacements named for prosecutor, chief magistrate

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Less than 24 hours after Mingo County's prosecutor resigned, the county has named a temporary replacement.

During a special commission meeting Thursday, commissioners named Assistant Prosecutor Teresa Maynard as acting Prosecuting Attorney.

Maynard will replace Michael Sparks who resigned on Wednesday just before an federal information was filed against him.

According to the information, Sparks is accused of playing a role in a scheme to protect former Sheriff Eugene Crum's reputation by giving a drug supplier a more favorable plea deal. The defendant was asked to fire his attorney, who was giving information to federal investigators and the media about Crum's alleged wrongdoing, according to the information.

In Sparks' resignation letter, he wrote "Regrettably, I made a mistake in judgment and now accept the consequences. My attempt to prevent potential injury to the reputation and drug enforcement efforts of the late Sheriff Eugene Crum was unjustifiable. The end should never justify the means in criminal justice."

Maynard will serve as acting prosecutor for 30 days. Then, a permanent prosecutor will be named.

Commissioners say they are now accepting applications for the permanent replacement.

Meanwhile, a temporary replacement for Mingo County's Chief Magistrate has also been named.

The State Supreme Court appointed former Putnam County Magistrate Kim Blair to the position.

Dallas Toler resigned Wednesday after he was charged in a federal information. Toler is accused of submitting a voter registration application for a person on probation for a felony.

Blair will only serve until a permanent replacement is named. Court officials say that could take awhile because the county's circuit court judge would normally appoint Toler's replacement. However, that position is also empty right now because Michael Thornsbury pleaded guilty to in a separate corruption case.

Blair worked as a Magistrate Judge in Putnam County from 2002 to 2012.
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Federal prosecutors have charged two more Mingo County officials in a widespread investigation that already has brought down a judge and county commissioner.

Prosecutor Michael Sparks was charged Wednesday in a scheme to protect the reputation of the county sheriff who was slain in an unrelated shooting.

In a separate case, prosecutors charged Magistrate Dallas Toler with illegally registering a felon to vote in 2012. Toler resigned earlier Wednesday.

Both were charged a document called an information, signaling that they are cooperating with prosecutors.

Sparks is accused in a scheme to protect former Sheriff Eugene Crum from revelations he'd bought drugs from a campaign sign-maker. Crum was fatally shot in April.

Former Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury pleaded guilty to the same scheme last week. Another official pleaded guilty to extortion.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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