The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 11, 2013

Beckley officer charged with domestic battery against girlfriend

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— A Beckley police officer was arrested Tuesday for domestic battery against his girlfriend, a local television news anchor.

Cpl. Bryan Michael Atterson was charged with domestic battery and unlawful detention against Mary “Merrily” McAuliffe, an anchor for WVNS 59 News.

Raleigh County Sheriff’s Cpl. J.L. Redden responded to a domestic violence call Tuesday at the couple’s residence on Apache Lane in Prosperity.

According to the complaint, McAuliffe stated she was in a physical altercation with Atterson, where he restrained her from leaving the apartment against her will.

“He applied a martial arts maneuver to her arm putting her on the ground,” the complaint said. “During this act she struck her head causing swelling and bruising on her forehead.”

Atterson, 35, has been a mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor for over 10 years.

McAuliffe also told police that Atterson put her in a choke hold, holding her to the point where she almost passed out before he released her, the complaint stated.

McAuliffe also sustained bruising on her right wrist, according to the complaint.

“During my conversation with Atterson, he did admit to keeping her in the residence to try and talk to her,” Redden said in the complaint. “He also admitted he physically restrained her at one point during the confrontation.”

Redden said he saw broken glass and overturned furniture in the apartment.

A warrant for Atterson’s arrest was signed Tuesday by Magistrate Greg Tanner, but Atterson was released on $2,500 bail later that day.

Beckley Police Chief Tim Deems said these charges are “very serious” and the matter is being handled by the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department.

“Cpl. Atterson is on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the charges,” Deems confirmed.

“I spoke with him and he maintains his innocence.”

Deems said Atterson has the same rights as everyone else and he is innocent until proved guilty.

“We will take no action until it is proven.”

Deems said that anyone convicted of domestic battery is prohibited from carrying a firearm, so if Atterson is found guilty, he will no longer be eligible to be a police officer.

Atterson would then be asked to resign or he would be terminated, Deems said.

Further court proceedings have not yet been scheduled.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com