As the current term of court nears a close, two defendants were sentenced through plea agreements, one saw his charge dismissed after paying restitution, and a fourth defendant received punishment for violating terms of probation. The rulings were given by Judge Mark A. Karl in Wetzel County Circuit Court on Monday and Tuesday.
Rebecca Ann Watson, 25, of P.O. Box 552, Pine Grove, pleaded guilty to count one of forgery and count two of uttering. During a tearful statement, Watson apologized for "wasting the court's time and hurting my mother."
Watson admitted to entering the home of her mother, stealing a checkbook on a closed account, forging the checks, and passing them off as true checks; she also gave the checks to others to cash for her. Further, she confessed to using many illegal substances in the last 120 days.
Watson was indicted on 13 counts of forgery and 12 counts of uttering for allegedly forging and employing as true checks totaling $7,556.82 in the span of six days, all to have occurred in 2011 on the account of Jerry L. White and Vickey A. White. The remaining charges were dismissed.
Watson is to pay all restitution and costs of prosecution; she was sentenced to one to ten years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Women where she will also receive drug counseling and treatment. After six months, Defense Attorney Jeremiah Gardner can file a Rule 35b motion for a reduction in her sentence. Per the agreement, the state will not oppose the reduction in sentence which calls for the remainder of the sentence to be served on two years of probation.
Also, Jonathan Jones, 20, of 111 Helen Street, Paden City, entered into a plea agreement regarding his two-count indictment for offenses that had occurred around July 8, 2011. He pleaded guilty to count one, conspiracy to commit first degree robbery.
Jones, represented by Attorney Roger Weese, admitted to "conspiring with some friends to steal some drugs for money."
"This was some kind of a drug deal gone bad situation," said Prosecutor Timothy Haught. He said the evidence in the case would show that Jones, Justin Raymond Wyatt, and Wilson Scott Longwell motioned Maverick Ray Stewart over to their car, which he entered. From there the testimonies differ as to whether it was cash or prescription pills that were taken from Stewart.
Jones was sentenced to one to five years with credit for 152 days served. After serving one year he can file a Rule 35b motion for a reduction in sentence, in which he can then be placed on two years of probation.
Count two, first degree robbery, was dismissed.
In another matter, Kristica Skelley, 30, of 714 North Fourth Avenue, Paden City, will spend 30 days in Northern Regional Jail after admitting to violating terms of her probation.
On Feb. 24, it was learned that in addition to the petition filed to revoke Skelley's probation, an amendment was presented regarding her having contact with a person under indictment, namely Summer Sellers Riley, 29, of 187 North State Route 2, Villa Apartments, New Martinsville.
On Jan. 25, during a random drug screen, Skelley had allegedly tested positive for opiates and oxycodone. On Feb. 4 during a confirmation test Skelley reportedly tested positive for 3,552 nanograms of oxydodone; 50 is the amount allowable of that substance.
Skelley was sentenced on Oct. 3, 2011, to one to 15 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Women for possession of a controlled substance (heroin) with intent to deliver.
However, the execution of her sentence was suspended for two years supervised probation. A total of 120 stamps of heroin and roughly $1,817 in cash were seized by police during the investigation.
Skelley will begin serving her sentence May 4 at noon.
Also on Tuesday, Jay R. Work, 50, of 291 North Street, New Martinsville, appeared for his hearing alongside Attorney Paul Harris. The court was informed by Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught that a resolution had been made regarding the overpayment of food stamp funds. The $1,913 has been paid back in full; therefore, the charge of welfare fraud was dismissed.