Two linked to U.S. marshal slaying going to prison
ELKINS -- Two people are going to prison for lying to authorities last year as they searched for a fugitive who ended up in a shootout that killed him and a young deputy U.S. marshal.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin sentenced the fugitive's widow, Sherry Lou White, to five years in prison and three years' probation for her role in the death of marshal Derek Hotsinpiller.
Her daughter, 26-year-old Cassandra Smith, was ordered to serve six months' probation and perform 100 hours of community service.
Cassandra Smith's boyfriend, 24-year-old Anthony Lambert, will spend five months in prison and five months on probation.
All three defendants were released on bond after their hearings in Elkins. Smith and Lambert must report to prison on June 18.
Hotsinpiller was killed and two other deputy marshals were injured Feb. 16, 2011, when they went to the family's Elkins home to arrest Charles Smith, who had been wanted on drug charges.
The marshals were wearing protective vests as they entered the house, but Hotsinpiller was shot in the neck and doctors couldn't save his life after he was rushed into surgery.
He was only 24 and just embarking on his law enforcement career when he became the first deputy U.S. marshal killed by gunfire in 19 years.
After the shootout, investigators found 22 loaded weapons strategically placed around the house. The windows had been covered with blankets to hide the occupants.
"The take-away from this case is that all citizens approached by law enforcement officers for information should be completely forthright and truthful,'' said U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld.
U.S. Marshal Gary Gaskins said he hopes the sentences provide closure for those affected by the tragedy.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was among those who addressed nearly 2,000 mourners at Hotsinpiller's funeral.
Hotsinpiller had met Supervisory Agent Alex Neville at a high school job fair and set his mind to becoming a marshal that day. He went to work in December 2009, and graduated from Fairmont State University in April 2010.
Neville was one of those by his side the day he died.
Both Neville and deputy marshal Fred Frederick took bullets, too, but survived their injuries.