PARKERSBURG - In the early morning hours of March 18, following the fatal shooting of Jody Wilson by Wood County sheriff's deputies, the deputies involved met with a former Wood County prosecutor.
The three officers -Brett Pickens, Cory Six and Zack Schadd -met with Harry Deitzler, now in private practice, following a West Virginia State Police investigation into the incident.
The three deputies were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing recently when a Wood County grand jury declined to bring charges related to the incident.
Deitzler said he met with the deputies at his home office.
"I met with them relatively quickly," he said. "It is not unusual for me to do that. I met with my clients and reviewed the material, but I did not go to the actual scene."
Sheriff Jeff Sandy also said Deitzler was not at the scene. The sheriff said there is no truth to rumors Deitzler was made aware of the events before Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton.
"Not at all," he said.
Wharton said he had no comment and deferred comments to Sandy.
Deitzler said his services had nothing to do with the investigation into Wilson's death.
"It's a different thing between the actual investigation side," he said. "They have no reason to notify me for that. I'm looking out for the officers individually. In doing that, we don't interfere with the official investigation."
Cory Six's mother is Ginger Six. She's listed as committee treasurer for Deitzler's campaign for county commissioner. Cory Six's father is Jamie Six, Wood County clerk.
Deitzler said he's represented a number of law enforcement officials - free of charge. Deitzler said he represents the officers so taxpayers don't have to pay attorneys. Deitzler said he never billed the county or the city when he previously represented elected officials in legal matters.
"When police officers are doing their best and something bad happens that can have legal implications," he said, "they can call me in the middle of the night and I will be there."
Sandy told The News and Sentinel the deputies handled the situation in line with department policies. Sandy also said the department retained counsel for the deputies following the shooting.
Sandy said it's not unusual for law enforcement individuals to seek legal counsel. The sheriff said when he was part of a federal law enforcement training council there was a checklist when shootings occur.
"One of the things recommended, if they desire, is to consult with an attorney; to make sure they articulate the events as they happen."
Deitzler said officers involved in these situations don't have the resources to hire an attorney for themselves.
"The subject of criminal charges or lawsuits, they need somebody to talk to," he said. "They can't wait two weeks later and figure out what they need to do.''