During a hearing in Pocahontas County Circuit Court last Friday morning, Judge James Rowe denied Bradley C. Totten’s motion for sentence reconsideration. As part of a plea agreement in July 2013, Totten pled guilty to felony sexual abuse by a guardian or custodian, and the state agreed to drop other pending charges. At that time, Judge Rowe sentenced the former Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department officer to no less than 10 and no more than 20 years in prison.
Represented by defense attorney Michael Callaghan, Totten requested that his sentence be changed to home confinement for 20 years, to be discharged in 10 years. The former Sheriff’s officer has been incarcerated at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville for the past 11 months.
Callaghan argued that the offense had occurred 10 years ago and that Totten was “a different man than he was 10 years ago.” The attorney contended that prison had been especially difficult for a former police officer and that Tottten had committed no prison infractions during his incarceration.
“Brad Totten is one of those people who, when you give him instructions, he follows them explicitly.” said the defense attorney.
Callaghan contended that home confinement would allow Totten to earn an income with a graphic design business and help support his family, who have struggled during his absence.
“Let him be a productive member of society,” said Callaghan. “Let him help take care of his family.”
The defense attorney argued that Totten’s home in Pocahontas County is “in the middle of nowhere.”
“He would have no chance to interact with anybody and has no intent to interact with anybody in the community,” said Callaghan.
Totten, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, was given the opportunity to speak to the court.
“I’m extremely sorry for the harm that I’ve caused,” he said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could take everything back.”
Special Prosecutor Brian Parsons opposed Totten’s motion for reconsideration.
Parsons called to the stand the victim of the crime for which Totten was convicted. During her testimony, the victim said she did not believe Totten should be released. She said Totten had pursued her and victimized her for a long period if time. The victim said she had been traumatized by the crime, which made it impossible for her to have a normal relationship with a man. She said she had completely lost trust in law enforcement and felt the entire community had lost trust, as well.
Callaghan asked the victim if she would fear Totten if he was placed on home confinement. The victim responded that she would not fear Totten because she is leaving Pocahontas County.
Parsons argued that the judge’s original sentence was an appropriate punishment that he had contemplated when fashioning the plea agreement for Totten. The prosecutor argued that Totten had not taken full responsibility for his crime. Parsons referred to Totten’s sworn testimony in a civil disposition in which the former police officer stated he had attended sex offender treatment because it had been recommended, not because he needed it. The prosecutor said Totten’s concern for his family had come too late.
“Was he thinking about his family when he committed this crime?” asked Parsons.
Judge Rowe recited the factors that he could consider in making his decision and ultimately agreed with the prosecutor.
“I feel very strongly that the sentence that was imposed was correct,” said Rowe.
“It will take many years for the community to heal from the damage caused by the defendant’s selfish actions,” the judge added.