SPENCER, W.Va. (AP) — A newly elected West Virginia sheriff who acknowledged a meth addiction and taking the drug from a police evidence area for his own use was sentenced to up to 10 years of home confinement Tuesday.
After apologizing in a courtroom one floor above his former office, Bo Williams was sentenced for his January guilty plea to a felony charge of entering without breaking. A judge followed the recommended sentencing guideline of one to 10 years.
"I made a bad decision and it took me down a road I never intended to travel," Williams said before sentencing. "I take full responsibility for my actions."
Williams was accused of taking methamphetamine from an evidence storage area late last year when he was a Spencer police officer. He resigned from that post.
Elected sheriff in November, he stepped down soon after taking office in January as part of a plea agreement.
Letters read by Roane County Circuit Judge Richard Craig Tatterson from community members noted the unwanted negative attention the case brought, and the community's broken trust of law enforcement. The judge also noted that at least two other felony drug cases were dismissed as a result of Williams' case, and several others are in question.
Two friends and Williams' aunt spoke in court, citing his good side including when he jumped into an icy creek years ago to save a teenager.
Tatterson opted not to place Williams on probation, instead giving him 48 hours to arrange fitting with a home confinement monitor.
Williams previously agreed to give up his law enforcement credentials.
Wood County Prosecutor Pat Lefebure, who handled the case after Roane County Prosecutor Josh Downey removed himself, said Williams sought treatment for his addiction after being charged. But the prosecutor said the ex-sheriff deserved to be incarcerated.
"This is certainly a difficult case," Lefebure told the judge. "He has brought shame to local law enforcement. He has disgraced the badge that he was sworn to uphold. He has stolen from the Spencer Police Department."
Williams and his attorney declined comment afterward.
Roane County Sheriff Todd Cole, appointed to replace Williams, didn't immediately return a message left at his office.
According to a criminal complaint, meth was found in Williams' desk and in a police vehicle. The complaint said several evidence bags found with Williams contained case numbers corresponding to missing evidence.
Downey had said Williams told him, Spencer Police Chief Greg Nichols and a state police sergeant last November that he had been addicted to meth for more than a year. Downey said Williams acknowledged removing methamphetamine from a police case file and using it.