Two were sentenced on drug related charges in Wetzel County Circuit Court on Friday. Judge Mark A. Karl presided over these and many other cases, set to continue in April.
Bryan Christopher Shannon, 24, of 325 Main Street, Apartment 1, New Martinsville, pleaded guilty by way of information to possession of a controlled substance (heroin) with the intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with the intent to deliver. For these offenses Shannon was sentenced to the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for a period of one to 15 years for count one, and one to five years for count two, with credit for eight days served. Furthermore, these sentences will run concurrently. In addition to paying court costs, Shannon also agreed to forfeit all money and property seized during the New Martinsville Police Department's investigation. During his hearing Shannon stated he was a user of illegal drugs and requested drug counseling as a condition of his sentence. Shannon reported to the Wetzel County Sheriff's Office at noon Monday and was transferred to be incarcerated.
During this hearing Attorney Jeremiah Gardner asked the court if Shannon could report Monday rather than that afternoon, as he wished to help his pregnant wife move.
Bryan Christopher Shannon
In response, Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught sternly said, "It was my understanding he would report today. Not only is he a drug dealer, he is a drug user and I don't want him out on the street."
Gardner retorted, saying that in this circumstance the woman could lose her child if forced to move on her own. With that said, the judge thought on the request and agreed to let Shannon report after the weekend.
On or about Feb. 13, the NMPD searched Shannon's residence and found 297 stamps of heroin along with at least two ounces of marijuana; Subozone, a Schedule II controlled substance; and numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia. At $35 per stamp, the heroin had a street value of approximately $10,395.
NMPD Police Chief Tim Cecil said a tip of the drug activity came from some general complaints and an anonymous caller to the NMPD, at which point officers conducted the investigation that culminated in a search warrant and subsequent arrest.
Haught stated in court that police found nearly 300 heroin stamps, a bag of marijuana, approximately $750 in cash, a small safe, syringes, small quantities of prescription pills, rubber bands, packaging material, and a ledger of names and quantities of drugs sold to numerous people in the area. "This has given police intelligence as to who's buying these drugs," Haught said, noting the acquired information has already spawned several investigations. Notably, Shannon took full responsibility for the items found at the residence.
Jonathan Edward Glendenning, 22, of 202 Abbie Drive, New Martinsville, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), a lesser included misdemeanor offense to his original charge of manufacturing the drug. For this offense he was sentenced to confinement in the Northern Regional Jail for six months. However, the execution of the sentence was suspended. As such Glendenning will serve one year of supervised probation and also perform 50 hours of community service at the West Virginia State Police barracks in Paden City. He is also ordered to pay all court fees. Glendenning was to report to Adult Probation Officer John Lantz on Monday at 10 a.m.
When asked what made him guilty of the offense Glendenning said, "I had grown marijuana in my apartment complex in Abbie View."
Haught told the court the manager of Abbie View Apartments found a five-gallon bucket with two marijuana plants growing on the back porch of the defendant's residence. The manager then called the state police and through the investigation a female subject indicated to officers that the plants belonged to Glendenning. Glendenning was cooperative with police, telling them he had found them growing in Paden City and dug them up to grow them himself. Notably, Glendenning has no prior felony record.
On Feb. 24 Glendenning pleaded innocent to his one count of manufacturing marijuana. The offense is to have occurred on or about Aug. 2 in Wetzel County.
In another matter, James Russell Webber, 67, of 83 Northgate Drive, New Martinsville, returned to circuit court on Friday wherein a video conference was held with a staff psychiatrist of Sharps Mental Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., who shared that he had some reservations to Webber being placed back on home confinement, noting that Webber behaved best under strict supervision in a structured environment and with proper medication. After some deliberation, the judge stated he was inclined to send Webber home, but not until after his next hearing scheduled for March 29 at 10 a.m. Webber was remanded to the NRJ.
During the hearing Special Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Cramer noted he had had an opportunity to speak to Webber's wife on the matter of home confinement, stating she did desire for her husband to return home. Furthermore, she told him she did not fear for her safety. "She is the one most at risk and she understands that and understands the risk she has accepted," Cramer reiterated.
When the psychiatrist was asked his professional opinion regarding Webber's mental state, he concurred that the results of the independent psychological evaluation conducted on Webber in February did reveal the defendant was competent. However, with that said he stressed that he would agree with the request for Webber's release with some reservations, noting he had recommended Webber's medications be increased but Webber refused. "He is doing reasonably well in a structured environment," the doctor began. "But if he is going to be released to the community to home confinement, he will need medication to hold his temper." He went on to say the defendant has a tendency to make inappropriate decisions when he gets upset. However, he added Webber is able to come back and apologize for his behavior afterward.
The psychiatrist went on to say that he believed Webber to not be a danger to himself or to others under the hospital's care and supervision. However, if allowed back into the community the doctor strongly recommends Webber see medical professionals on a regular basis and take his medications as directed.
Allegedly around July 4, 2011, Webber cut off his home confinement bracelet and then spent time at the NRJ before being evaluated in Charleston where he was deemed incompetent. However, during his hearing on March 9 the court redeemed him competent.
On Jan. 26 Webber entered innocent pleas to his three counts of the felony offense of solicitation to commit a felony crime of violence for his acts said to have occurred between Oct. 1 and Dec. 8 in Wetzel County.
Between the said time period Webber allegedly solicited, instigated, or induced a cooperating confidential individual to commit three felony crimes of violence, namely murders, against three men, by offering to compensate said individual for the acts of murder, providing money to purchase a firearm to conduct said murders, and discussing plans regarding said murders.