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Voters re-elect W.Va. sheriff facing January trial

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CHARLES TOWN (AP) — A West Virginia sheriff facing civil and criminal trials next year for allegedly beating a bank robbery suspect has been re-elected this week by a margin of about 400 votes.

But the outcome of Jefferson County Sheriff Robert Shirley's January trial in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg will determine whether he's able to serve his full four-year term.

Shirley is accused of kicking and stomping on Mark Daniel Haines after a December 2010 police chase.

Shirley has denied any wrongdoing and vows he'll be vindicated. Haines, meanwhile, is serving a 19-year sentence for bank robbery.

Media outlets say Shirley narrowly held onto his seat with just under 51 percent of the vote this week.

The 61-year-old Democrat edged out Republican challenger Earl Ballenger.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.