SOMERSET — Relatives of a convicted drug dealer plotted to offer the commonwealth's attorney $20,000 to get the man out of prison, police have charged.
Police had four people in custody in the alleged bribery scam by Thursday afternoon, and the investigation was continuing, said Detective Lt. Shannon Smith, spokesman for the Somerset Police Department.
Those charged are Everett Hyden, 64; Noble Hampton, 63; his daughter Virginia "Carol" Hampton, 44; and Walter Creekmore, 62, all of Somerset.
They are charged with bribery of a public servant, a Class C felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison, police said.
The inmate they allegedly wanted freed is Brandon K. Compton. Noble Hampton is his grandfather, and Carol Hampton is his mother, police said.
A fifth person, Darmus "Bubby" Dalton, 44, has expressed interest in turning himself in, police said.
Authorities said the investigation started Monday after Hyden stopped Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery outside his office on Main Street about 8:45 a.m. and offered him money to get Brandon Compton out of prison.
Compton is serving a 20-year sentence for drug trafficking, according to the state Department of Corrections Web site.
"I was surprised, and kind of insulted," Montgomery said. "One of the campaign promises I made is I'm not going to go to federal prison."
A previous commonwealth's attorney went to federal prison in a bribery case.
Montgomery put the man off, telling him he would check on the case, and reported the solicitation to police.
Working with police, Montgomery made recorded calls to Hyden, and met with him Wednesday morning to discuss delivery of the money.
About 4 p.m. Wednesday, with officers secretly shooting video, Hyden approached Montgomery in the parking lot of his office and gave him a brown paper bag containing $20,000, police said.
Police arrested Hyden, the Hamptons and Creekmore after questioning them Thursday.
Montgomery said police did an impressive job to pull the case together in two days.
He won't be prosecuting, however. He'll be a witness.