Perjury charge dismissed in Morgan County

November 03, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A grand jury indictment for perjury against a Smithsburg, Md., police officer was dismissed Monday in Morgan County Circuit Court, one day before the former Bath, W.Va., officer was to go on trial.

Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said Monday night that Shawn Ray Tyler, who was on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the case, will be reinstated immediately.

"It was because a witness before the grand jury started talking about the law instead of the facts," Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney David Savasten said Monday after Judge David Sanders dismissed the indictment against Tyler. The dismissal occurred during a pretrial conference.


Savasten said Sanders ruled that the testimony was improper. The testimony was from Damon Slone, an investigator with the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office.

Tyler, 30, had been indicted by the grand jury in September for allegedly putting false information on a voter registration form on May 15, 1995, at the Morgan County Clerk's Office. He allegedly listed his address as Berkeley Springs, although he lived in Thurmont, Md.

He had been scheduled for a jury trial today.

The Town of Bath hired Tyler as a patrolman in December 1994 and he resigned in June 1995 to take a position on the Smithsburg police force. Tyler was indicted by the grand jury on the felony charge on Sept. 2, according to court records in Morgan County.

He was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 10 after a hearing before Myers. She said it was "normal procedure" because of the felony indictment.

"I'm glad to have him back" on patrol, Myers said. She noted that he has been to work every day since he was placed on administrative leave. He had been doing desk work.

Tyler was the only officer on Smithsburg's police department at the time. Police Chief Thomas Bowers had been fired in August, Myers said. She said the Washington County Sheriff's Department had been providing police protection for the town since Tyler was put on leave.

Tyler will remain the only officer on the force until a new chief is hired, Myers said. She said Bowers had obtained a court injunction against the town hiring a new chief in the aftermath of his firing.

Savasten said it is still possible Tyler's case could be presented to another grand jury in the future.

Slone said the indictment of Tyler arose from another investigation.

"I'd received a complaint on another matter and information on him arose from this other matter. That was a case we presented at the same time involving Susan Webster," the mayor of Bath, Slone said.

Slone said the complaints against Tyler and Webster were not related.

The grand jury did not indict Webster on any allegations.

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