Special prosecutor responds on Plants criminal charges

The idea that the State Police trooper who investigated the domestic battery charge against Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants doesn’t think he’s guilty of a crime is “preposterous,” the special prosecutor handling the case wrote Monday.

Whether or not Plants is guilty of domestic battery of his 11-year-old son, can only be decided by a jury, Sid Bell, who was appointed to prosecute Plants, wrote in a response to a motion to dismiss filed by Plants’ attorney.

“These issues are clearly ones that can only be determined by the trier of fact after the prosecution has had an opportunity to present all of the evidence concerning the circumstances under which the corporal punishment was administered,” Bell wrote.

Plants attorney, Jim Cagle, has filed two motions asking Mike Flanigan, the Mercer County magistrate appointed to the case, to dismiss the battery charge against Plants.

Cagle’s motion filed Friday states that Plants would have had to intentionally caused physical harm to his son — and even the investigating trooper has said Plants didn’t.

Bell wrote, however, that Sgt. M.S. Adams “clearly communicated to the undersigned prosecuting attorney his opinion that the defendant is guilty of the offense charged.”

Plants is also charged with violating a domestic violence protective order.

Allison Plants was granted an emergency domestic-violence protection order by Kanawha Family Court Judge Mike Kelly in February. Plants was charged on March 18 with violating the protection order after police say he found his children the day before in a vehicle outside a local pharmacy and stayed with them until their mother exited the pharmacy. According to the order, Plants wasn’t to have contact with Allison Plants or their two sons.

As evidence, Cagle wrote Friday he plans to use, among other things, a disc from Fruth Pharmacy “showing Allison Plants entering the store and going to right towards wine section.” He said the prosecutor’s ex-wife “has a history of driving with children when drinking causing concern on part of Mark Plants,” Cagle’s filing states.

Bell wrote Monday that this is the first time Plants has ever mentioned anything about his ex-wife purchasing alcohol. He wrote that Allison Plants “ went into the pharmacy to buy a box of food coloring to make St. Patrick’s Day cookies. There is no evidence, video or otherwise, that she went into the store to purchase wine or any other alcoholic beverage, and there certainly is no evidence that she had consumed any alcoholic beverage on that day or any other day in the past year or more.”

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.

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