02/26/2001

Sheriff fires deputy in domestic dispute
[Charlotte County, FL]

Robert Eckhart Staff Writer
February 24, 2001, Saturday, Charlotte Edition
Copyright 2001 Sarasota Herald-Tribune Co.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
February 24, 2001, Saturday, Charlotte Edition

(CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.) -- Sheriff's Deputy Robert West was fired Friday on allegations of assaulting his son's ex-girlfriend during a domestic dispute.

West, 45, was off duty the night of Dec. 14, when he quarreled with Ashley Daughtrey, the mother of three of his grandchildren.

While another deputy held his shirt, West lunged at Daughtrey and threatened to kill her, an internal affairs report says.

Cpl. Joseph Marinola grabbed West's shirt, trying to pull him away from Daughtrey.

"He pulled right out of his shirt, still trying to get at her," Marinola told investigators. "He kept advancing at her saying, 'I'll kill you!'

"At that time I had a hold of his britches in the back, and I was grabbing at his arm trying to hold him back."

West, who has been a deputy for six years, plans to appeal Sheriff Bill Clement's decision to fire him. He told sheriff's investigators that he didn't threaten Daughtrey.

"We feel that he was wrongly terminated," said Jill West, his wife. Robert West could not be reached for comment.

The Dec. 14 incident occurred in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Murdock.

On her way home from work, Daughtrey called 911 to report that Jennifer Cooper, one of West's daughters, was following her car.

Marinola was waiting in the parking lot when Daughtrey and Cooper arrived, the report says.

Cooper called West on her cellular phone. He arrived a few minutes later and interrupted Marinola, who was trying to question Daughtrey.

Daughtrey and West exchanged words. She drove away while Marinola tried to calm West down.

Marinola said he would have arrested West on a misdemeanor assault charge if Daughtrey had wanted to press charges.

According to West, Daughtrey is a troublemaker who has targeted him and his family. He said she started fights and filed unsubstantiated complaints against him with the Florida Department of Children and Families in the past.

West told investigators that Daughtrey was the one who was violent on Dec. 14. He said she took a swing at him, and that Marinola lied in his report.

West said Marinola is out to get him because West accused Cpl. David Scheid of drug abuse in 1999.

After a year-long investigation into the drug abuse accusation, Scheid was allowed to keep his job.

Marinola and Scheid are "the best of friends," according to West.

The assault accusation initiated the 14th internal affairs investigation of West since he joined the Sheriff's Office in 1994.

In the past, he has been faulted for conduct unbecoming an officer, violating sheriff's policies and discourtesy.

West also has been accused of interfering in a 1998 battery case that involved Daughtrey.

In that instance, West was reprimanded after telling the investigating officer that he didn't think Daughtrey was telling the truth, and that he planned to do his own investigation and then arrest Daughtrey.

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