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Record request unbelievable

November 11, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

To the editor:

I read in disbelief - a request for a criminal record to be sealed? As I shockingly read the newspaper Oct. 30 about David Workman wanting his felony conviction record sealed, I thought how is this even a law? ("Record seal request denied.")

His complaint that he is having difficulty finding "good employment" because he is a liar, a thief (theft in office) and a convicted felon is insane. Would a future employer want to know that before they hire him? I am thinking, yes. Not only was Workman hired to assist the coroner, but he had a prior record, which is accessible and a public record. What type of criteria does someone have to meet to be hired in Jefferson County? Is an interview required? A basic background check? References? A review of previous records or offenses?

When Workman stole my late husband Joseph H. Ver Straten Sr.'s credit card and then used it at a strip club, we were planning my husband's funeral. Workman wasn't planning on getting caught. He had access to Joe's wallet and figured our family would be so distressed that we wouldn't note the charges to a strip club the day after Joe died. Not even to mention the fact that Joe would never patronize a strip club.

Workman not being able to find a "good job" should be a constant reminder to him (and others like him) that crime doesn't pay and the past will always catch up with you. Joe was on his way to work at the Sammis Plant and his death was sudden - being struck by Devin Barnes, who was driving left of center.

Barnes shares a similar trait with Workman in so much as he showed no remorse and took no responsibility for causing Joe's death. Barnes was seen on a security camera at a Toronto gas Station stealing gas and then minutes later, just before hitting Joe, he was spotted passing and speeding on state Route 152.

During the investigation, it was proven that Barnes was up all night partying and had drugs in his system. Barnes served six months in the Jefferson County jail for his crime of vehicular homicide. The law says that it was an accident and that Barnes didn't set out and plan to hit Joe and cause his death that dreadful morning.

So, we have two men; one who caused Joe's death and the other that took advantage of a grieving family for his own self pleasure. Neither men have ever reached out to our family during their hearings (which I was present) or shown any sorrow for the pain that they have caused our family.

However, they were and continue to be sorry that they got caught. I say thank to Judge Joseph Bruzzese and Prosecuting Attorney Jane Hanlin for not only convicting Workman of a theft in office - a felony - but also for not allowing his felony to be sealed.

It's too bad that the same justice didn't exist for Barnes.

Flora L. VerStraten-Merrin


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