CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A newly elected West Virginia sheriff who admitted he was a meth addict and was charged with stealing the drug from a police locker pleaded guilty to a felony and resigned from office Wednesday, a prosecutor said.
Bo Williams entered the plea to a charge of entering without breaking Wednesday in Roane County Circuit Court.
County Prosecutor Josh Downey said Williams was accused of taking methamphetamine from the storage area when he was a Spencer police officer last fall. He resigned in December, a month after being elected sheriff. He took office this month.
According to a criminal complaint, meth was found in Williams' desk and police vehicle. The complaint said several evidence bags found with Williams contained case numbers corresponding to missing evidence.
Downey 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 admitted removing methamphetamine from a police case file and consuming it.
Williams faces up to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced on March 28.
"It's an example of what drugs like meth have done to our communities," Downey said. "Some people have a picture of what a drug addict looks like. It shows that it can be anybody."
The Roane County Commission, which had already started removal proceedings against Williams, will have a month to appoint a replacement. It plans to meet Friday.
The commission had appointed former Roane County Sheriff Todd Cole to serve as chief deputy in charge of law enforcement operations. Cole served two terms as sheriff from 2000 to 2008. In 2014 he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the previous sheriff who left for health reasons. Cole's term ended Dec. 31.
Williams was elected sheriff in November and his term started Jan. 1. While serving as a police officer in Spencer, Williams was placed on leave and he resigned in December after evidence went missing. The complaint said more than $1,000 in evidence was involved. He originally was charged with grand larceny.
Williams agreed to resign as part of a plea agreement with the prosecutor's office in neighboring Wood County, which handled the court case. Downey said he's "relieved more than anything" by the conviction because of the toll it was taking on a small central West Virginia community.
"It's been real stressful on the whole courthouse," Lambert said. "It's been stressful on his family, I'm sure."
Downey said Williams also agreed to give up his law enforcement credentials.