BUCKHANNON — The case against a former bails bonds person accused of taking money from her company has been dismissed.
Tammy Hatfield was set to go to trial later this month, but prosecuting attorney David Godwin moved to drop the charges Friday, citing shaky evidence and questioning the credibility of a co-defendant set to testify.
Judge Kurt Hall concurred with Godwin’s request.
Hatfield, who has maintained her innocence, had previously been indicted for one count of embezzlement and one count of fraudulent schemes, a felony, in January 2016. At the time, police claimed she had not turned in paperwork to her company, Bill’s Bail Bonds, and there was no record that the bond fees she collected were deposited into the agency’s bank account.
But on Friday, Godwin said additional bonds were located that the bond agency previously said had not been reported.
“That failure to report was part of the state’s evidence,” he said.
A co-defendant in the case, Jacqueline K. Stocker, of Buckhannon was indicted for two counts of fraudulent schemes, a felony, but later reached a plea agreement in exchange for cooperating in the case against Hatfield.
Stocker pled guilty to having issued checks knowing there were no funds in the account, according to Godwin.
But on Friday, Godwin said the credibility of the co-defendant was “questionable” to have her testify in the case.
“These things undermine the case and make it unwise for the state to proceed,” he said in asking that the charges against Hatfield be dismissed.
Godwin credited the two investigating officers in the case, Lt. Mark Davis with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department and TFC R.A. Moss with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, for their work, but ultimately he didn’t have the evidence needed to pursue the case.
“It is over unless the investigators find some additional evidence to re-establish liability in this case,” Godwin said.
Hatfield’s attorney, James Hawkins, noted that his client has maintained her innocence throughout and thanked the prosecutor for continuing to evaluate the case.
“I appreciate the fact that Mr. Godwin takes the time to do what he has done,” he said.
The judge said the case would be dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could potentially be refiled in the future.
Hall said, “I’ve been in the position that Mr. Godwin has been in before. The court is not going to force Mr. Godwin to go to trial in a matter that he doesn’t think he should.”