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Judge Okays Questionnaires For Howell Jury

June 20, 2012
BY LAUREN RIGGS - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

The case of the State of West Virginia vs. John M. Howell, continued Thursday afternoon in Wetzel County Circuit Court. The topic of the court session was the jury questionnaire, which Judge Mark Karl decided would be allowed. Hence, specific questions were debated in open court.

It was also decided that the case would be bifurcated-meaning if the verdict includes a penalty, the penalty will involve a separate trial and the same jury will be used.

In addition, the defense agreed upon the authenticity of medical records, allowing that copies can be used instead of the originals.

Article Photos

John M. Howell

There are still questions as to whether or not abuse and neglect records from the circuit court of Tyler County will be allowed to be used as evidence. These records date as far back as 2001 and another hearing may need to be set in regards to their prominence in the case.

On Jan. 18, 2011, Howell pleaded innocent to his four-count indictment charging him with felony offenses of a sexual and violent nature said to have occurred on or about Dec. 14, 2010, in Wetzel County.

Howell faces one count each of the felony offenses of kidnapping, second degree attempted sexual assault, first degree sexual assault, and malicious assault (respective to counts one through four) for acts committed against his wife. The two had been separated since August 2010 and have a child in common.

Howell allegedly attacked the victim when she attempted to leave his residence after picking up the child. The victim was flown from Wetzel County Hospital to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Upon his arrest the evening of Dec. 14, 2010, Howell was found with scratches around his left eye, left side, and a bruise on his left arm.

Several cases were heard in circuit court Friday, including the case of Samuel Arthur Wade, 32, of Route 1, Box 9, Folsom. He appeared in court Friday alongside his court appointed attorney, Jeremiah Gardner. Gardner stated that he had just been recently appointed as Wade's attorney; he requested more time to look over Wade's indictments. Thus, Karl set a return date for June 21 at 1:30 p.m.

Karl asked Wade if he worked and if he could meet this return date. Wade stated that he didn't know. Karl responded that it was very important that he meet this date as he is "looking at some serious charges here." Wade then replied that he would be there. Thus, the return date for Wade has been set for June 21, 1:30 p.m.

Of Wade's nine count indictment, counts one, four, and seven state that at some point between Nov. 1 and Dec. 26 2010, Wade allegedly committed the felony offense of sexual assault in the second degree. Counts two, five, and eight charge Wade with the felony offense of incest. Counts three and six charge Wade with sexual abuse by a custodian.

In another matter, it was found that plea negotiations in the case of Brandon Harvey, 26, of 6326 Lee Creek Road, Belleville, W.Va., have not been fruitful. Consequently, a trial date has been set for Sept. 4, 9 a.m. On Sept. 14, 2011, Harvey entered a plea of innocence to his indictments of kidnapping and two counts of domestic battery.

According to the true bills handed down by grand jurors during their September 2011 grand jury session, count one details that between Aug. 19 and Aug. 20, 2011, in Wetzel County, Harvey allegedly committed the felony offense of kidnapping by taking a young woman from New Martinsville against her will. In Wood County the victim got away from Harvey and called 911. He was subsequently arrested and charged.

Counts two and three of the indictment state that between the same dates as above, Harvey allegedly committed the misdemeanor offense of domestic battery with the same female, his ex-girlfriend, by shoving her to the ground and striking her with his hands in New Martinsville.

Roger Dean Long, 59, of P.O. Box 381, Reader, also appeared in court Friday alongside his attorney Thomas Dyer. Prosecutor Haught reported that he is trying to schedule a meeting at the site where the marijuana was found and that this meeting is expected to happen next week. On Feb. 7, Long entered a plea of innocence to one count of manufacturing a controlled substance (marijuana) for allegedly manufacturing, by cultivation, the Schedule II controlled substance on or about July 21 in Wetzel County.

Cynthia Smith, alongside Attorney Roger Weese, appeared on a motion to reduce her sentence. Smith, 23, of 618 North Fourth Avenue, Paden City, pleaded guilty on May 3 to one count of conspiracy to deliver hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance. She was sentenced to one to five years, but was given credit for 145 days. Smith successfully served six months and ten days in prison and had no write ups. Thus, Judge Karl granted a reduction in sentence. Smith is now placed on two years of probation.

In another matter, Patricia Goding, 23, of 134 Thompson Drive, New Martinsville, appeared in court alongside her court appointed attorney Brent Clyburn. It was determined that Goding's case might resolve itself, pending the resolution of her codefendants' cases.

Goding therefore waived her right to a speedy trial and the matter was set for the next term of court; she is to return Sept. 12 at 10 a.m.

She is facing two charges, being principal in the second degree to entry of a dwelling and principle in the second degree to petit larceny. Goding allegedly entered the residence of Scott E. Davis and Renee Davis of North Bridge Street, New Martinsville, and stole jewelry valuing less than $1,000.

Shawn C. Stackpole, 26, of Post Office Box 116, Porters Falls, also waived his speedy trail rights as there are two more defendants in this case.

Stackpole was indicted on two counts, conspiracy and principal in the second degree to delivery of a controlled narcotic substance (oxycodone). The crime was to have occurred on or around Jan. 19,



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