Charleston, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant today praised state and federal investigators who have worked together for more than two years to protect the integrity of elections in Lincoln County, as another man was sentenced to federal prison in connection to the absentee voting scheme there.
James Matheny, of Midkiff, was arrested in February after threatening at gunpoint a Secretary of State investigator and an FBI agent. The investigators were looking in to the absentee voting scheme orchestrated by former Lincoln County Clerk Donald Whitten and former Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman, who were both recently sentenced to federal prison. Former Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey has also pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in the case.
Matheny was sentenced on two counts today. He was sentenced to one year and one day on one count of assaulting a federal officer, and seven years on one count of use of a deadly weapon during and in relation to a crime of violence. The sentences will run consecutively. Matheny was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.
“This incident happened even after Clerk Whitten and Sheriff Bowman had agreed to plead guilty in January,” Secretary Tennant said. “This incident proves that even after court appearances, the joint Secretary of State and federal investigation continued. And going back to 2010, this office never gave up on this investigation. This sends a clear message: that crooked politics and election law violations will not be tolerated as long as I am your Secretary of State.
“The Secretary of State’s Office continues to work closely with election officials in Lincoln County to make sure that the election process is being followed. We have been to Hamlin many times to work side by side with them, and that partnership means that the people of Lincoln County can have faith in their elections.”
Former Lincoln County Clerk Donald Whitten, who pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to investigators, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and a $5,000 fine.
Former Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, two years of supervised release, and a fine of $5,000.
Ramey faces a later sentencing date.