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Prosecutor: Former deputies can still testify

By Joe Beck

The resignation of three deputies from the Warren County Sheriff's Office is unlikely to have a major effect on cases in which they could be called as witnesses, a prosecutor said Friday.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Nicholas Manthos said the three former deputies could still be called to appear in court against those accused of traffic and criminal offenses.

The three former deputies, Bradley Pugh, Michael A. Robinson and Eric Ramey, resigned within days after coming under investigation for hunting violations within the Front Royal town limits.

Pugh has paid fines and processing fees totaling $334 for unlawful hunting, trapping or fishing, wanton waste and unlawful hunting. Robinson has a charge of unlawful hunting pending against him.

The investigation by state conservation police cleared Ramey of any violations.

Manthos said police often are called back to testify after they have left their jobs for a variety of reasons.

"There's lots of law enforcement officers who retire or move on to different career paths and different police organizations," Manthos said.

Nevertheless, Manthos said, Warren County prosecutors will be taking a second look at cases involving all three of the former deputies.

The review will be conducted on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron agreed that cases involving the three will proceed with little or no difference than if they had remained on the force.

"My understanding is there is no reason to believe they couldn't be called as witnesses in their cases and testify for the commonwealth," McEathron said, adding such decisions have to be made by prosecutors.

McEathron also said the resignations will not hinder or disrupt any current investigations.

He refused to comment on whether Ramey could be hired back after being cleared by the investigation, citing the issue as a personnel matter.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


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