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2 circuit judges retire, 1 to be sworn in as senator

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Two West Virginia circuit court judges are retiring from the bench this month, and one of them will serve as a West Virginia state senator, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals recently announced.

Donald H Cookman, who serves as a circuit judge of Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton counties, will be sworn in as senator Jan. 31.

Thomas H. Keadle, who serves as a circuit judge of Lewis and Upshur counties and is Cookman's brother-in-law, will deliver the oath of office.

Keadle, 75, is retiring Jan. 31 and has been a judge since 1985. He practiced law in Romney from 1974 to 1981 and also was an assistant prosecutor in Hampshire County.

Cookman, meanwhile, retired Jan. 23, when Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appointed him to a seat in the 15th Senatorial District, which covers Hampshire, Morgan and portions of other surrounding counties.

He will fill the vacant seat left by Sen. Walt Helmick, who was elected as West Virginia agriculture commissioner.

Cookman has been a circuit judge since 1993 and was appointed to the state Supreme Court to be one of the four judges on the new business court division.