CHARLESTON – A jury has convicted a Lincoln County man of assaulting an FBI agent with a firearm.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, James A. Matheny, 61, of Midkiff, was found guilty Friday by a federal jury sitting in Charleston. The jury convicted Matheny of assaulting a federal officer and using a deadly weapon during and in relation to a crime of violence. Matheny was charged in a two-count indictment in March.
Evidence at trial proved that on February 28, 2012, Matheny was approached by a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent and an investigator from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. The investigators were probing fraud in the 2010 Lincoln County primary election. When the investigators asked Matheny if they could show him some documents concerning the election, he drew a pistol and threatened to kill them. The investigators were both veteran law enforcement officials and survived the confrontation unharmed.
“Nationwide, 162 law enforcement officers gave their lives in the line of duty last year,” said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. “Next week is National Police Week, so Friday’s verdict was well timed. Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe. We were reminded of that yet again last week with the shooting — thankfully, not fatal — of a West Virginia State Police member.
“Pulling a gun on a federal agent is something we will not tolerate,” said Goodwin. “I hope this case sends a clear message that makes all of our law enforcement officers’ jobs a little bit safer.”
Matheny faces a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment when he is sentenced on August 22, 2012.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Ryan and Counsel to the U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby handled the prosecution.