Powerball jackpot winner to step down from bench Labor Day

August 27, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • From left, Steve Roach, vice president and chief operating officer of Roach Energy; Powerball winner Berkeley County Magistrate W. Randy Smith; Smith's grandson Michael McDonald, who came along specifically to hold the $79,000,000 check for his grandfather; and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin.
Submitted photo,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Berkeley County Magistrate W. Randy Smith, recently a winner of a $79 million Powerball jackpot, will step down from the bench on Labor Day.

Smith, 63, of Martinsburg, made his resignation effective Sept. 6.

In a memo faxed Friday afternoon to 23rd Judicial Circuit Chief Judge David H. Sanders' office, Smith said he "immensely" enjoyed his time as magistrate.

As chief judge, Sanders is responsible for appointing a replacement for Smith, who served two four-year terms as Berkeley County sheriff before being elected magistrate in 2008. Smith's term as magistrate expires in 2012.

"Hopefully, the decisions that were made by me were just, fair and in accordance with the law," Smith said in a brief interview Friday at his Berkeley County Judicial Center office.

Smith said he has enjoyed working with the public, first as a Berkeley County Sheriff's deputy for 12 years and then as a bail bondsman for 12 more, before being elected sheriff in 2000.


"I'll certainly miss the people that I've met and worked with over the years -- a lot of professional people trying to do the right thing," Smith said. "I've just always enjoyed public service, it has been rewarding to be able to help people."

Smith bought the winning ticket in last Saturday's Powerball jackpot drawing at the ROCS convenience store at 39 Kelly Island Road near Martinsburg.

Since claiming the prize in Charleston, W.Va., on Monday, Smith said he has been working on arrangements on how to safely bank his winnings, given the limitations of FDIC insurance on deposits.

Smith opted for the $44.3 million cash option, and state and federal taxes reduced the prize to about $30 million. Roach Energy, corporate owner of ROCS, received a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Smith, who was scheduled off this week before winning the jackpot, said he did not want to leave fellow magistrates and court staff, including his assistant, Mary Angelo "holding the bag" by resigning immediately after discovering he had won.

Smith credited them with helping him take on the duties of being a magistrate and said he was particularly appreciative of Angelo's assistance.

With his winnings, Smith plans to help his family, particularly his sister, who is disabled, and a family member who has been ill. He also has plans to replace his vehicles, which he said have more than 150,000 miles on the odometer.

Aside from that, Smith said he would first like to travel a bit in the U.S., before considering an overseas trip, and agreed with another magistrate's suggestion Friday that he "disappear" for a while.

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