CHARLESTON – A lawsuit against Mingo County officials that alleged they forced a man to plead guilty to a drug charge has been settled.
Albert Childress Jr. filed the lawsuit on Sept. 9, 2016, in Kanawha Circuit Court against former Mingo circuit judge Michael Thornsbury, former Mingo prosecutor Michael Sparks, former Williamson police chief David Rockel, the Mingo County Commission and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court was dismissed from the complaint on June 30, according to court documents.
Childress plead guilty in March 2013 after being threatened with more serious charges, according to the suit. He spent approximately eight months in jail. Childress claimed he knew he would be convicted even though he knew he was innocent, because of the corruption at the courthouse.
Childress’ attorney said the lawsuit was settled for $90,000. However, the specific amount each defendant paid has not yet been disclosed by the West Virginia Board of Risk and Insurance Management.
Thornsbury is currently at a minimum-security federal prison in Florida, and is scheduled to be released in March.
Sparks previously served a year in federal prison.
The case was assigned to Circuit Judge Charles King.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 16-C-1387