A criminal complaint was filed in Magistrate Cynthia Kelley’s court April 16 against Jerome Ernest Heinemann, of Wesley Chapel Road in Green Bank, alleging that Heinemann “did unlawfully but not feloniously knowingly, make or publish, or cause to be made or published, false statements in regard to a candidate with the intent to affect voting at an election, a violation of West Virginia Code 3-8-11 (c) x 2.”
Probable cause was found in this matter and a warrant was issued for Heinemann’s arrest.
The complaint was filed by Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney candidate Bob Martin and Pocahontas County Sheriff candidate Jerry Dale with regard to false statements being put on an Internet blog.
The matter was investigated by Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Dave Walton.
According to the complaint, Heinemann “is the self-proclaimed editor of an Internet blog and is the individual who took credit for the posts involving the two victims.”
The posts claim that Bob Martin, who served for a time as assistant prosecuting attorney, was fired from that position by Pocahontas County Prosecutor Eugene Simmons.
Walton reported that he interviewed Eugene Simmons about the statement concerning Mr. Martin and Simmons advised that the statement “is indeed false because of the fact he never fired Mr. Martin.”
The complaint further alleges that Heinemann published posts accusing Dale of various crimes and wrongdoing during his tenure as Pocahontas County Sheriff. The posts referenced various supposed arrests and complaints against Dale.
During his investigation of this matter, Walton stated that he ran a criminal history check on Dale and found no record of arrests nor of any complaints filed against Dale.
Walton concluded that information posted by Heinemann on the Pocahontas Crier concerning Dale were false.
The complaint states, “Due to the defendant’s [Heinemann’s] own posts and to the wording of those posts it is believed the statements made were to affect the outcome of the upcoming election in which both victims are candidates.”
According to West Virginia Code a person found guilty of this misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000, or confined in jail for not more than one year, or, in the discretion of the court, shall be subject to both such fine and imprisonment.
A personal recognizance bond was set at $1,000.