WELLSBURG - David B. Cross has announced he won't seek re-election as Brooke County prosecutor, an office he's held for more than 30 years.
In recent months Cross has dealt with heart-related health problems but his decision to step down from the elected office pre-dates that, he said, noting he's been eligible for retirement for several years.
But Cross said he won't be retiring entirely, as he plans to continue to practice law at his Wellsburg law office. And he stressed he will continue to serve the remainder of his current term, which ends this year.
The announcement comes as the prosecutor's office and others are set to appear on ballots in the county's May 8 primary election and Nov. 6 general election.
The filing period for candidates for many federal, state and county offices continues through Jan. 28.
Brooke County assistant prosecutors Joseph Barki III and David F. Cross, who is Cross' son, reflected on the elder Cross' many accomplishments as county prosecutor.
The younger Cross noted his father and Jim Lee, chief probation officer for Hancock, Brooke and Ohio counties, established the state's first Victims Assistance Program, which helps victims of crimes to get counseling and assistance with medical costs and other expenses stemming from the crimes.
Established in Brooke County in the late 1980s, it was expanded later to include Hancock and Ohio counties.
Cross and Lee also have worked together to establish home confinement, community service and other alternative sentences for non-violent criminal offenders, citing the public's cost to imprison them and a greater opportunity to rehabilitate them.
In recent years they have worked with 1st Judicial Circuit Court Judge Martin Gaughan and others to establish regional courts through which criminal offenders with drug abuse or mental health issues have been sentenced to counseling and other treatment under the supervision of day report centers.
David F. Cross said his father always has understood that "a county prosecutor's role is seeing that justice is served but that justice also must be tempered with mercy."
A former English and speech professor, Cross graduated from the West Virginia University law school in 1976 and soon after joined the law practice of J.P. McMullen and Charles Bell.
In 1978 he became Wellsburg city solicitor and was recruited by then Brooke County Prosecutor John Cooper to serve as assistant prosecutor.
Cooper stepped down in 1980, endorsing Cross in his first run for Brooke County prosecutor.
Cross said he always has remembered Cooper's equal and fair treatment of everyone he encountered, regardless of their social status, and he's tried to adopt the same approach over the years.
County Commissioners Marty Bartz, Norma Tarr and Tim Ennis each commented on Cross' patience and gentlemanly demeanor.
Cross and his wife, Terri, have two children, David F. and Danielle Cross McCracken; and six grandchildren, including three in college.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)