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Thomson withdraws as counsel once again

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Kelley second former client said to be potential witness in lawyer's tampering case

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Winchester attorney Paul Thomson has withdrawn as counsel for a man charged with drug crimes in Shenandoah County because the defendant is a potential witness in the former prosecutor's federal case.

Thomson, 56, was indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury in January on charges of conspiracy to alter a record in an official proceeding, possession of cocaine, two counts of tampering with phone record evidence and two counts of witness tampering. A jury trial is scheduled to begin June 27, and Thomson, a former Winchester commonwealth's attorney, is free on bond.

Since the indictments, federal court records state, the attorney may have tried to tamper with two other witnesses -- both men whom he represented in state circuit courts. One of those is Marlon Gene Kelley, 30, of Woodstock, whose case appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Kelley is charged with four cocaine- and heroin-related drug offenses. On Monday, Thomson filed a motion with the court withdrawing from the case, citing the facts that the defendant may need "substantial" resources to provide a defense and that Kelley is indigent, and that Thomson was not in position to represent the man any further.

Thomson withdrew as counsel last week from the other potential witness mentioned in federal records -- Lemuel Lee Roberts, who is charged in Frederick County Circuit Court with abduction and assault and battery.

In Shenandoah County, Kelley was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison, with all but a year and six months suspended, in February 2009 for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine. According to a probation officer's report, he tested positive for cocaine on June 10 of last year.

The new cocaine and heroin charges come from October, when an investigator received information that Kelley was going to the Woodstock Wal-Mart to sell narcotics, a criminal complaint states. Undercover officers were placed at the location, and Kelley was approached in the men's restroom. There, the investigator noticed part of a plastic bag coming from the man's mouth, the complaint states.

The bag had 12 smaller bags of cocaine and two bags of heroin. The weight of the cocaine was 20 grams, and there was 2 grams of heroin, the complaint states.
Kelley is scheduled to return to court March 30.

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