Former Chapmanville Officer Marcus Dudley sentenced in missing K-9 case
‘I am very troubled by the fact you were a law enforcement officer’
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Almost seven months after Former Chapmanville Police Officer Marcus Dudley first reported his partner K-9 Officer Chase missing, the ex-officer appeared in Kanawha County Circuit Judge Stephanie Abraham’s courtroom for sentencing Thursday.
In a plea agreement reached last month, Dudley pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, making false statements, and obstructing an officer.
Dudley was indicted by the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in August on charges related to Chase’s disappearance. He did not show up to court for arraignment days after the indictment and was later arrested in Georgia.
At the time Dudley first reported Chase missing on April 11, they were living in South Charleston.
Dudley was sentenced to the maximum time of six months and five days, with credit for time already served. He will be released 17 days from Thursday.
In addition to jail time, Abraham required him to pay $6,000 to the Town of Chapmanville for the cost of Chase, $522 to the South Charleston Police Department, enroll in an anger management class and cannot live in a home with animals or own one for five years.
Assistant Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Gainer said those penalties for Dudley, who is originally from Georgia, will be on his record in any state he lives.
“For what we aimed to accomplish, [Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney] Chuck Miller instructed me to pursue an animal cruelty charge to prohibit [Dudley] from owning animals in the future as well as the obstruction charge to have some effect with his law enforcement officer credentials so that he can’t be an officer in the future,” Gainer said. “I believe that plea accomplished all those goals.”
Dudley was not required to reveal the dog’s whereabouts in the plea agreement, a frustration expressed by Judge Abraham in the court.
Abraham read a victim impact statement from Chapmanville Police Chief Al Browning at sentencing reading:
“On behalf of the town, the police department and the police department, what happened to Chase? They deserve answers and they deserve better.”
“With respect to the charges, you, Mr. Dudley have been convicted of I am very troubled by the fact you were a law enforcement officer, a person who is viewed by the public as holding a position of trust in our communities because you swore to uphold the law,” Abraham said. “By virtue of your position, you had the ability to restrain the liberties of citizens. we as community members must be able to trust our law enforcement officials and when somebody breaks that trust as you did, they must be held accountable in order to validate our support.”
Dudley declined two chances to speak for himself in court.
Jessica France, an administrator of the K-9 Officer Chase Facebook group, said they will not stop looking for the dog.
“He’s getting sentencing, so why not just go ahead and tell us where Chase is just get it out in the victim?” she said. “That’s what we’re here for to make sure there is justice for Chase, and it’s depressing no one can give us those answers.”
Gainer said getting a location for Chase was not part of the plea agreement because of the lack of evidence as to whether the dog is alive.
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