Ex-state police detachment commander sentenced

April 25, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - A former West Virginia State Police detachment commander was sentenced by a federal judge Tuesday to serve 15 months in prison and pay $10,179 in restitution.

A jury last year convicted George William Bradshaw III, 59, of Martinsburg, of mail fraud.

The former Martinsburg detachment commander will be placed on three years of supervised release after serving the prison sentence, determined by district Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. at the U.S. Courthouse in Martinsburg.

Stamp allowed Bradshaw the opportunity to voluntarily surrender to the U.S. Marshal Service on May 24 to begin serving the sentence. The judge also agreed to recommend that the Federal Bureau of Prisons place the retired police officer at a facility close to home.

Though appreciative of Bradshaw's 32 years with the State Police and military background, Stamp said "one has to balance that very good record against the abuse" that the defendant carried out in his position as detachment commander.


Indicted in November 2005 on one count of mail fraud, Bradshaw was the detachment's "evidence custodian" when money taken from alleged drug dealers and others arrested from 1999 to 2002 disappeared, authorities have said.

An audit confirmed that $18,542 was missing from 20 cases.

The government alleged Bradshaw manipulated forms used to document seized property and cash, and ultimately mailed misleading reports about the seized material to state officials in South Charleston, W.Va.

After the hearing Tuesday, Bradshaw's attorney, B. Craig Manford, said he would file a notice of appeal with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals within 10 days as is required.

"We just take some exceptions with the jury's verdict," Manford said of the panel's decision in August. Bradshaw's sentencing was delayed in part by the unexpected death in December of Judge W. Craig Broadwater, who was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks earlier.

Manford said no one actually saw his client take the money and the government's case provided no "smoking gun." He readily acknowledged that there was a lot of circumstantial evidence in the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul T. Camilletti was not immediately available to comment about the judge's sentencing of Bradshaw, but he said during the hearing that the defendant's actions had "called into question the honesty of officers everywhere."

Given the opportunity to make a statement, Bradshaw told Stamp of his long tenure with the State Police and said he accepted the detachment commander post in Martinsburg at the request of the agency's superintendent.

"And I got myself in a hornets nest," Bradshaw said.

Stamp could have sentenced Bradshaw to 21 months in prison and ordered him to pay up to a $40,000 fine, according to guidelines the judge outlined before imposing the penalty.

Stamp also did not order Bradshaw to pay for the costs of incarceration or supervised release, but he is required to pay $250 per month in restitution while in prison.

In response to defense objections, Camilletti on Tuesday had lead investigator State Police Sgt. Scott T. Dillon testify about specific instances when money seized during Bradshaw's tenure as detachment commander was determined to be missing. The cases specified Tuesday amounted to more than $13,000 in losses, but Stamp rejected arguments presented for two cases and ultimately decided Bradshaw should pay $10,179.60 in restitution to the West Virginia State Treasurer's office.

After reviewing a transcript of Bradshaw's trial testimony last year, Stamp said he agreed with the court's probation office that the statements Bradshaw gave under oath constituted an obstruction of justice, and the judge factored that into Bradshaw's sentencing terms.

On the witness stand during the trial, Bradshaw said his alteration of troopers' reports, including the forging of officers' initials, were done to account for seized cash and other property before inspections by superior officers, not the makings of a cover-up.

In his argument for leniency, Manford noted Bradshaw "was out there putting his life on the line" for the community as a police officer for 32 years and that the mail fraud conviction was an "aberration." Manford also noted several letters sent to the court on Bradshaw's behalf, asking for leniency.

Records show the court received letters from Richard Wachtel, V. Wayne "Speedy" Lloyd, Mark W. Arvin and George Karos, who all wrote in support of leniency for Bradshaw, who appeared to show little emotion upon being sentenced.

Bradshaw declined to comment outside the courthouse.

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