Retired Randolph County Judge John Henning has been appointed by the state Supreme Court to serve in the 26th Judicial Circuit until a successor can be appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
The circuit covers Lewis and Upshur counties. Henning, a senior-status judge, will replace Judge Thomas Keadle, who retired Jan. 31.
Keadle had been a judge since 1985 and an attorney since 1974. He practiced law in Romney from 1974-81 and was also an assistant prosecutor in Hampshire County during that time. He moved to Buckhannon to practice law and was elected to the bench in 1984.
Between high school and college, Keadle served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was then a state trooper in both Romney and Buckhannon for nearly eight years. Keadle graduated from Alderson High School.
Keadle and his wife Beverly returned to her hometown of Romney, and Keadle has been appointed as a senior-status judge to serve in the 22nd Judicial Circuit, after former Judge Donald Cookman retired and assumed the West Virginia Senate seat formerly held by Walt Helmick.
Helmick was elected as the new Agriculture Commissioner in November.
Cookman was sworn in to this new post by Keadle, his brother-in-law. Cookman had served as a circuit judge since 1983 and had been a practicing attorney since 1971. Cookman and his wife Paula Jean live in Romney.
A special bi-partisan committee will assist Tomblin in filling the two vacancies on the bench, The committee is expected to receive applications from interested candidates. The person appointed will serve until the next general election and then run to fill the unexpired term.