CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mingo County has a new temporary prosecutor and magistrates in the wake of the previous officeholders resigning amid federal charges.
Mingo County commissioners appointed Teresa Maynard as prosecuting attorney Thursday in an emergency meeting. The prosecutor's office confirmed Maynard's appointment.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin appointed senior status magistrate Kim Blair -- previously a Putnam County magistrate -- as a temporary magistrate for the county, Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury said.
Maynard and Blair were named to their new roles less than 24 hours after the office of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin filed federal charges against their predecessors.
Sparks is charged with depriving a man of his constitutional rights in connection with a scheme involving ex-judge Michael Thornsbury, ex-commissioner Dave Baisden and slain sheriff Eugene Crum.
Toler knowingly registered a felon to vote, according to documents filed Wednesday in federal court.
Blair, a Republican, served as a Putnam County magistrate from 2002 to 2012, when she lost in the primary election. She was appointed as a senior status magistrate this year.
Although Blair said she's followed Mingo County corruption news no more or less than the next person, she doesn't think the circumstances providing for her knew job add any pressure.
"I don't think so. I plan on going down there and doing my job like I have in Putnam County," Blair said by phone Thursday evening.
"Fair, firm, friendly, professional; just to cover and help the court."
Blair said she starts Oct. 21, and was not given an end date for her assignment.
Toler resigned Wednesday. Since then senior status magistrate Joey Kohari filled in, Canterbury said. Kohari was a longtime Mingo County magistrate and trained Toler when he was appointed magistrate after Crum resigned to run for sheriff, according to the Williamson Daily News.
There are three magistrates in Mingo County. In counties with three magistrates, typically two work or are on call all week while the third is off, Canterbury said. That could explain the week gap between Kohari's last day and Blair's first, he said.
Typically the senior judge in the circuit would appoint a replacement magistrate. That was Thornsbury, until he recently resigned and pleaded guilty to his own set of federal charges.
Neither of the two senior status judges -- John Cummings and Thomas McHugh -- are from Mingo County. They wanted the new judge, yet to be appointed by the governor, to have the chance to pick the full-time magistrate, Canterbury said.
Maynard did not return messages left in the prosecutor's office. It was not immediately clear if she was related to Tennis Melvin Maynard -- the man accused of fatally shooting Crum -- or former Supreme Court Justice Elliot "Spike" Maynard.
Teresa Maynard became an assistant prosecutor in 2005, according to several media outlets. She replaced Sparks officially today, who resigned his post as a condition of the plea agreement with federal investigators.
Justin Marcum, an assistant prosecuting attorney and Democratic delegate for Mingo County, said Maynard is a good choice.
"She's a great asset. She handles a lot of the child abuse and criminal felony (cases)," Marcum said. "She's been a lawyer for many years."
Maynard and Marcum are two of the five assistant prosecutors who worked under Sparks.
Sparks is expected to plead guilty to his role in the conspiracy to keep a man from helping an FBI drug investigation into Crum.
The man, George White, reportedly sold Crum $3,000 worth of campaign signs leading up to the 2012 election. Instead of repaying White, Crum allegedly arrested him after the sheriff had an informant buy prescription pills illegally from White.
White, through his attorney, told the FBI he repeatedly provided Crum with prescription pills while Crum was a magistrate, according to federal court documents. Crum found out about the discussion and worked with Baisden, Sparks and Thornsbury to convince White to switch attorneys.
Through White's brother, they told him if he switched attorneys Thornsnury would let him off with a lighter sentence. They thought the new attorney wouldn't encourage White to continue cooperating with the FBI.
White switched attorneys and received a lighter sentence, endorsed by Sparks and ordered by Thornsbury, according to documents filed in federal court.
Both Toler and Sparks are expected to plead guilty. Toler faces up to 5 years in prison. Sparks faces a maximum of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Marcum said he knew nothing about any of Sparks' alleged wrongdoing. However, he criticized people trying to "capitalize on the black eye being placed upon our county."
"You have people that are rejoicing in the black eye being placed on Mingo County," Marcum said.
"What we need to be rejoicing in is turning over a new leaf and starting fresh in Mingo County."
Marcum declined to name anyone trying to take advantage of the situation, but said the same three or four people continue to publicly speak out so they can enjoy the attention.
"Overall, at this juncture and time, we need a lot of prayers and we need to establish hope for the people of southern West Virginia," Marcum said.
"For certain people who run to the media all the time and badmouth everything that's going on and enjoy the spotlight, that's not the answer."
Baisden and Thornsbury already pleaded guilty to federal charges. Thornsbury admitted to his conduct in the conspiracy to interfere with the FBI investigation. Baisden admitted he tried to force the county's tire provider to sell him tires at a discount.
Goodwin said Wednesday the investigation is ongoing.