WHEELING, W.Va. — A former West Virginia sheriff was ordered into federal custody Monday and will spend a year in prison for his role in the 2010 beating of a bank robber after a high-speed chase.
U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey rejected pleas that ex-Jefferson County sheriff Robert Shirley report on his own to a federal facility, saying he was worried about the mental state of a 61-year-old public figure with three decades in law enforcement.
A retired state trooper and three community leaders testified that Shirley has long been an asset to his Eastern Panhandle community and would thrive under third-party supervision on probation. But they also said he hit an emotional low point last fall when his wife filed for divorce and a friend committed suicide.
Defense attorney Kevin Mills said Shirley has since had professional counseling, but Bailey was not swayed.
“You say last fall was his low point,” Bailey said. “I’m guessing today is a lower point.”