By VIC SPROUSE
CHARLESTON -- Is it possible that Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker just awoke from a long slumber? Oh, say for at least four months?
Because that is the only possible explanation for allowing convicted felon Martin Bowling to go onto home confinement and reduce his sentence. Bowling was convicted of identity theft and stealing people's credit cards and using them to buy artwork, movie tickets, and goodness knows what else.
The "Judge" allowed Bowling to go onto home confinement. But, she DID bar him from working for any government agencies, you know, so he couldn't scam anyone. (I'm guessing that on home confinement he will somehow find access to a computer)
She also made the stunning statement that he likely wouldn't commit anymore crimes.
It was a stunner for sure.
I guess if you look at his case individually it's not that bad. I mean, he didn't murder anyone or anything.
It's not that bad. Well, unless you are one of the people who's identity and credit card numbers he stole to buy movie tickets, artwork, and who knows what else. Hey, at least he bought ARTWORK with the stolen goods, he is at least a sophisticated thief.
But, Judge Walker's decision to make him sleep in his bed and let him have home access to a computer is slightly more than giving the guy a slap on the wrist.
I'm guessing Judge Walker has just awoken like Rip Van Winkle. Did she miss the fact that Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette has brought to light the fact that the dude is up to his ears in a scandal surrounding the conspiracy to defraud taxpayers of what would have been a cool million dollars?
Had Eric not blown this case wide open, Bowling, his mother, girlfriend, mother's housemate, and boss at COMAR -- along with their partners at the Charleston Vaginal Rejuvenation Center (nope, I'm not making that up) -- would have been ripping off taxpayers to the tune of $900,000 (they were the ONLY ones in line for a $900,000 grant from the state), in addition to the $100,000 they already scammed from state taxpayers in the form of a "set aside" grant finagled by Bowling's mother who happened to write grants at Workforce West Virginia.
But, hey maybe Judge Walker doesn't believe what she reads. And, you know Eric, he just loves to kid around with his readership and make up crap about people. There's always a possibility that this is all an April Fool's joke by Eric and none of what he has written is true.
However, if even a modicum of what Eric has written is true, then Walker coming down from the bench and hugging poor Martin for the injustice of the court system by putting the poor precious in jail MIGHT be a little much.
Call me crazy.
But considering Martin (at least according to Eric's articles) was involved in a conspiracy with his mom and Comar owner Al Hendershot to defraud state taxpayers of a million dollars in loot, then, I don't know, Walker MAY want to keep the dude in the clink a bit longer until all this mess is sorted out.
Bowling's mother, Mary Jane (who calls her son "the precious") was hand-delivering checks to COMAR boss, Big Al Hendershot, all the while Martin was awaiting a jail sentence for credit card fraud.
That's right, HAND-delivering.
Martin and Al and Mary Jane also figured out a way to cut in Bowling's girlfriend for a cool $5,000. She served as a "consultant" to COMAR. Mary Jane's female "housemate" who also worked a full-time job for the state, also pulled in a cool $5,000 from Hendershot and Bowling's scheme. She served as a "consultant" and wet her beak in the taxpayer loot.
In addition, COMAR trained a total of 16 people who they gave increased "skills." For $100,000 no less. As Eric digs in, he finds out that COMAR pretty much used this taxpayer loot on themselves.
With all this mess swirling around, with Bowling in an obvious conspiracy with his mom and Hendershot to defraud taxpayers (at least if a modicum of what Eric has written is true), you think that Judge Walker MAY want to hold off a few weeks to see Bowling's level of involvement in this illegal scheme while he's serving time for his last illegal activity of ripping people off.
Hendershot has already vowed to rehire Bowling and was a big proponent to getting Bowling out of jail early. So, was his mom. And, his girlfriend. And, his mom's girlfrien ... err ... "housemate."
The whole crew was urging Walker to release Bowling early.
And, what's hysterical is that the Judge actually listened to the same people who were all wetting their beaks with taxpayer loot.
I said last week that Walker would have to be crazy to let this dude out early. But, I think now she simply awoke from a four month slumber and missed the Eric Eyre articles.
Sprouse is the former Minority Leader of the West Virginia Senate and currently owns a consulting company in Charleston.