The Roane County Courthouse in Spencer. Photo by Douglas Soule.

The family of one of the men killed by Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike King has reached a settlement in one of the lawsuits over his death. 

The Roane County Commission agreed to pay $700,000 over the 2019 shooting of 28-year-old Timmy Rhodes. The settlement was approved last week by U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston.

A Mountain State Spotlight investigation delved into the details of King’s February 2019 shooting of Rhodes as well as the death of the man, Michael Nichols, who the deputy killed less than two years later. Lawyers for Rhodes allege in court filings King has a history of misconduct and didn’t wear his body camera during either shooting, despite a county policy requiring it. 

In documents filed in response to the lawsuits, King denied any wrongdoing in both shootings. West Virginia State Police cleared the deputy of wrongdoing in Rhodes’ shooting; a State Police investigation into Nichols’ shooting offered no conclusion on whether the shooting was justified. 

King claimed Rhodes attempted to take his shotgun before the deputy fired point blank at Rhodes’ head. But lawyers representing his family say in court filings that Rhodes did not present any physical threat to King and did not attempt to take his shotgun. 

Drannon Adkins, a lawyer representing King and the county, declined to comment.

“We hope that this settlement will finally serve as a wake-up call to the Sheriff and Roane County Commission to reign in King and prevent him from further terrorizing the people of Roane County,” Dante’ diTrapano, a lawyer representing the family, said in a press release

King was named separately as a defendant in the lawsuit, but the settlement covers him as well.

Johnston is overseeing or has overseen five excessive force lawsuits filed alleging excessive force by King, according to a plaintiff legal filing.

The same lawyers who represented Rhodes’ family are also representing the family of Nichols in a lawsuit scheduled for trial in April 2022. A separate lawsuit over Rhodes’ death, filed by his fiancée, is still pending in circuit court.

Douglas Soule is a Report for America corps member who covers business and economic development. A Bridgeport native, he worked as an intern at the Charleston Gazette-Mail. He has served as editor-in-chief...