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Records request denied for former coroner’s worker

October 30, 2012
By MARK LAW , For The Weirton Daily Times

STEUBENVILLE - A former county coroner's office investigator who stole a credit card in 2008 from a man killed in an auto accident and was sentenced to nine months in prison was denied his request to seal his record during a hearing Monday in common pleas court.

Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. overruled a motion by Workman to seal his record, which would have prevented anyone but police from seeing his conviction.

David Workman, 57, pleaded guilty to theft in office.

Workman was obtaining blood samples from Joseph VerStraten, 51, of township Road 259, Richmond, who was killed on state Route 152 after the driver of a pickup truck went left of center and struck VerStraten's motorcycle head on.

Workman took a credit card from VerStraten and ran up a $430 bill at a Weirton strip club. After a strip club employee questioned Workman about the name on the card, Workman said it was his brother-in-law's and he had permission to use it. After leaving the strip club, Workman tore up the credit card and threw it out the window of his vehicle.

Workman was fired by then Jefferson County Coroner Dr. John Metcalf after the theft was discovered.

Workman's attorney, Lynsey Lyle-Opalenik, told Bruzzese the offense was Workman's only conviction and he is having difficulty finding good employment because of his felony record.

Workman told the judge he realizes he has hurt a lot of people but he wants to "get his life back."

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said the prosecutor's office normally doesn't object to sealing a defendant's record if the person was young and made a youthful mistake.

But Hanlin said the public has a right to know about Workman's offense, especially a future employer. That employer needs to know that Workman stole from his last employer, she said.

"(Workman) had a special kind of trust placed on him by Jefferson County," Hanlin said, adding the victim was unable to defend himself from the theft of the credit card.

Hanlin said the family, after the death, discovered the charge on the credit card and fought with the credit card company for months to have the charge removed.

"We have a middle-aged man who knew what he was doing. It may be the first time but he was caught. Everybody should know of the conviction so they aren't placed in the same position as Jefferson County," Hanlin said.

Bruzzese told Workman he lied about his identity at the strip club, adding it shows someone who has done it before.

"A first-time offender would have been scared," Bruzzese said.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com.)

 
 

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