John McGinnis new McDowell County assistant prosecutor

Jul. 16—WELCH — A former assistant prosecutor from Mercer County is now the new assistant prosecuting attorney at the McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Circuit Court Judge Edward Kornish swore in John McGinnis as McDowell County’s new assistant prosecutor on July 11.

McGinnis said he was an assistant prosecutor in Mercer County for close to eight years. He later served as a law clerk, then returned to the prosecutor’s office almost two years later.

“I’ve been in private practice for the past year,” McGinnis said. “I’ve been with Kenneth E. Chittum & Associates. I heard about the job opening in McDowell County working for Prosecuting Attorney Brittany Puckett; then she hired me and I started on Monday.”

McGinnis said his legal career included working for the Mercer County Public Defender’s Office at one point.

“I’m a graduate of Bluefield State College (now University), and I hold my law degree from the Appalachian School of Law which, by coincidence, my new boss Brittany Puckett has her degree from the Appalachian School of Law.”

In 2015, McGinnis worked with then-Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash on the trial of Oscar Combs Sr. and Oscar Combs Jr. for April 2011 murder of James “Bo” Butler in Mercer County. Combs Sr. was sentenced in February 2015 to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus consecutive prison terms of 80 years for robbery and one to five years for conspiracy. Combs Jr. pleaded guilty to murder and robbery. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and a consecutive 25-year prison term for robbery, according to court documents.

“Now I just want to bring my knowledge and experience to McDowell County and help Brittany Puckett and the rest of the office any way I can,” McGinnis said. “Everybody in McDowell County that I’ve met so far have been very welcoming and nice to me.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at

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