UPDATE: Alderson Mayor, 3 others plead not guilty on charges in connection to shooting

Summers County

UPDATE 7/23/2018 @ 10:20 AM 

A local mayor and three people appeared before a judge Monday morning to be arraigned on charges in connection to a shooting that happened last fall. 

Alderson Mayor Travis Copenhaver along with Billy Lightner, Tim Smith and Shannon Earhart were indicted by a Summers County Grand Jury. All four are charged with giving false information to public safety officials, conspiracy and obstructing an officer.

On Monday morning, Copenhaver, Lightner, Smith and Earhart pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Judge Irons gave all four a $2,500 PR bond. 

UPDATE 07/19/18, 7:00 PM

The tables in a nine-month shooting investigation have turned, indicting Alderson Mayor Travis Copenhaver and three others on misdemeanor charges.

A Summers County Grand Jury charging the four with conspiracy, giving false information to public safety officials, and obstructing an officer. Officials confirm these charges are in connection to a shooting that happened at a home on Eagle Branch Road in October of last year. Copenhaver’s constituents have mixed reactions with his indictments.

“They’re supposed to be outstanding citizens who strive to do for the community the best they can,” said Alderson resident Art Nottingham. “When something like that comes up, it just kind of muddies up the waters.”

“Whatever happened in his personal life that night has nothing to do with what he’s doing for the town today,” said Nanette Mann, who also lives in Alderson.

Investigators say Frederick Tolliver fired several shots at an ATV with five people on it. 
Those five were Travis Copenhaver, Billy Lightner, Tim Smith, Shannon Earhart and off-duty Alderson police officer Mac Brackenrich, who was paralyzed.

Tolliver, who was charged with attempted murder and malicious wounding, did not receive an indictment from the grand jury. While the prosecutor decides on a final decision with Tolliver, many citizens are wondering about their mayor’s future.

“I don’t think he should step down because he’s a great mayor,” Mann said. “He’s a great person. He’s just a great individual.”

“[City council] should analyze the whole thing and do the right thing about that,” Nottingham said.

As of 7:00 p.m. on July 19, 2018, Copenhaver and the Alderson City Attorney could not be reached.  City Hall declined to comment.


ORIGINAL:

A city official and three other people have been indicted on criminal charges in connection to the shooting that injured an off-duty police officer in 2017. 

According to the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office, Alderson Mayor Travis Copenhaver, Billy Lightner, Tim Smith and Shannon Earhart have been indicted by a Summers County Grand Jury. All four are facing charges of giving false information to public safety officials, conspiracy and obstructing an officer. All three charges are misdemeanors. 

Officials confirm these charges are in connection to a shooting that happened on October 27, 2017. 

State Police responded to a home on Eagle Branch Road around 11:45 p.m. According to investigators, Frederick Tolliver fired shots at an ATV that was carrying five people. The five people included Copenhaver, Lightner, Smith, Earhart and off-duty officer Mac Brackenrich. Brackenrich was shot in the neck, Earhart was hit by bullet fragments, and Lightner and Copenhaver were not injured. 

As a result of the shooting, officer Brackenrich was paralyzed and spent several months in a rehab facility. Officials said Brackenrich was not indicted because they did not find probable cause to pursue criminal charges. 

During the initial investigation, it was reported all five people were riding around on an ATV in the area and used Tolliver’s driveway to turn around when Tolliver shot at the ATV. Troopers said there was an argument involving Tolliver earlier in the evening that may be related to the shooting.

The Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office presented Tolliver’s case to the grand jury, which chose not to return an indictment. Tolliver was originally charged with five counts of attempted murder and three counts of malicious wounding. The prosecutor’s office has not made a final decision on whether they will pursue charges. 

For more details on the investigation click here

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