More than three months after Wood County sheriff's deputies fatally shot a man outside his mother's home in Lubeck and two months after the deputies involved in the incident returned to duty, the West Virginia State Police purportedly still has not completed its investigation.
Why? Is someone being protected? Is the state police afraid of releasing what investigators learned?
County Prosecutor Jason Wharton on April 25 said the involved deputies, who still have not been publicly identified, had not been fully exonerated in the shooting, even though Sheriff Jeff Sandy said an internal investigation cleared the three unnamed shooters of any departmental policy violations.
Two months ago Wharton said he would present the results of the investigation to a grand jury for review, but Wharton says he's still awaiting the conclusion of the investigation even though he expected it soon after his April 25 comments.
The odd part of that is officials in the sheriff's office contend the investigation was concluded a few weeks ago, which state police deny.
It all makes one wonder who is kidding whom - or who is protecting whom?
The public deserves to know what happened the night of April 17-18 when deputies, state Division of National Resources officers and state police responded to a 911 call - which Wharton refuses to release - of a man reportedly possibly high on bath salts and being armed. Officers arrived and reportedly attempted through the night to talk Jody Wilson into surrendering.
The allegation, to which Wilson's mother takes exception, is Wilson disobeyed deputies' commands, exited the residence with a firearm and fired upon officers.
Wood County deputies reportedly then fired on Wilson, killing him.
Wilson's mother contends deputies never identified themselves, never tried to talk to her son and never told him to drop his weapon before they opened fire on him.
The public deserves to know whose account of the incident to believe, but Wharton and state police repeatedly have refused any comment on the incident, which supposedly had an attorney friend of the sheriff at the scene counseling the deputies before Wharton was called.
The public deserves to know if the deputies acted within the bounds of reason and the law on the night of the fatal shooting or if the county has three deputies on the payroll who acted in haste.
The public deserves to know if the deputies acted within the bounds of reason or if the sheriff cleared them of violating department policy without having all the investigatory facts.
The public deserves to know which deputies were involved in the fatal shooting so the public can evaluate any future involvement with those deputies.
Taking more than three months to "investigate" this fatal shooting is unacceptable, especially in an election year, and should be deemed insulting to the public's intelligence.
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org