Shirley’s sentence to come

MARTINSBURG – Former Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley will face a sentencing hearing on May 23, before Judge John Preston Bailey at the federal courthouse in Wheeling.

Shirley pleaded guilty in January to charges of using excessive force under color of law for the 2010 beating of since-convicted bank robber Mark Daniel Haines.

Robert “Bobby” Shirley

Robert “Bobby” Shirley

Haines, who will give testimony at the sentencing hearing, according to court documents, suffered a broken nose, broken jaw, broken eye socket, and other injuries, according to medical reports.

The event was captured on dashboard-mounted video cameras placed in police cruisers. The video was subsequently publicly released, and can be seen on YouTube.

Shirley faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, though prosecutors have agreed to recommend a lesser sentence as a part of a plea bargain. Prosecutors have said previously that they would seek a prison sentence, however, and would not endorse alternative punishments like home confinement.

As a part of his plea bargain, Shirley agreed to cooperate with federal investigators, who would compile a pre-sentence report that will be a major factor in determining his sentence. That report has not yet been released to the public.

Prosecutors had previously alleged that Shirley attempted to influence a witness while on pre-trial release.

Peter Dougherty was appointed last month to fill in for Shirley by the County Commission until the next general election in 2014, when a new Sheriff will be elected. Dougherty has said he will run for election at that time.

Shirley, along with several other area law enforcement officers, also faces a civil suit filed by Haines in federal court. The county’s civil liability insurer is seeking a ruling that it should not have to cover Shirley’s legal expenses, or any eventual judgement against him, in that case, arguing that his plea in the criminal case included the admission that he intentionally broke the law.

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