FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSLS 10) - The man who lost the race for commonwealth's attorney in Franklin County Tuesday said he was fired Wednesday in a text message from the interim commonwealth's attorney, Cooper Brown.
According to his campaign page, Robert Deatherage has been an assistant commonwealth's attorney in Franklin County for nine years. Deatherage provided WSLS 10 with a screenshot of a text message he said he received from Brown early Wednesday morning.
The night before, Deatherage and Patrick Nix lost the race for commonwealth's attorney to Allen "A.J." Dudley, Jr. by more than 2,000 votes each.
Deatherage said he had been out of the office with an illness and had documentation from his doctor, excusing him from work.
In a statement, Deatherage said:
"I received [a text message] from Cooper a Brown terminating me this morning while I was still sleeping. I have a doctors excuse from work as well. I was very shocked, surprised, and heartbroken. I do not want to say anything to harm the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney because it is a wonderful office above personalities or politics that does a lot of good for our community. I have no idea why he would fire me like this. I was always good to him and helped train him a lot about the job."
Deatherage said he does not plan to fight being fired, saying he feared litigation could be costly to taxpayers. He said he would seek unemployment benefits until finding another job.
Deatherage added he worried about witnesses and victims involved with pending court cases he was handling.
Deatherage also said he was unsure if the commonwealth attorney elect, Allen Dudley, could have been involved in his firing. Deatherage said he called Dudley to congratulate him on his win the night of the election, but was only able to leave a message.
Cooper Brown has not responded to WSLS 10's requests for comment on the messages.