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Judge Pleads Guilty To Failure To Report

August 15, 2012
BY LAUREN RIGGS - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

Timothy John Judge, 31, of Box 132, Friendly, withdrew his former not guilty plea and pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender or provide a change in information to the West Virginia State Police in Wetzel County by knowingly failing or refusing to report his move to a new address.

The state agreed to drop count two, knowingly failing or refusing to report a new vehicle or change in vehicle. A pre-sentencing report is to be filed in the case; thus, a return date was set for Sept. 12, 11 a.m.

John Michael Howell, 44, of HC 61 Box 114, New Martinsville appeared alongside his defense team, where it was determined that Defense Attorney Stephen Herndon was filing a motion to withdrawal as defense. Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught, when asked by the judge on his opinion on the matter, stated that he had no issue with Herndon's withdrawal, but stated that if the allegations that Herndon put forth were true, then he does not see how Howell's other defense attorney, Keith Hart, could continue with the case either. The allegations were not revealed in open court.

As for his approval of the motion, Karl stated that Herndon had been in front of him for many years and had always been honest and ethical. Thus, he granted the motion for withdrawal.

In another matter with the Howell case, Karl stated he did not believe a jury could be seated in Wetzel County, but still, he gave Hart time to review the jury questionnaires with Howell and look for a co-defense counsel. A return date was then set for Aug. 24, 10 a.m.

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.

In another matter, defendant Denzel Ray Owens, 31, of 100 North Bridge Street, Lot 12, New Martinsville, appeared in court alongside his appointed attorney, Jeremiah Gardner. Gardner requested more time to discuss matters with the state. Karl asked if a plea agreement was close and Gardner said that depends on the disposition of his client. A return date was set for Aug. 24, 10 a.m.

Owens was given a two-count indictment by the grand jury in May. These charges allege that Owens committed the felony offense of entry of a dwelling and petit larceny. The charges stem from the allegations that Owens intentionally entered the residence of Scott E. Davis and Renee Davis located at North Bridge Street, New Martinsville, and committed larceny of goods totaling less than $1,000.

A motion for release on parole was granted to Curtis A. Lemasters, 27, of 215 Scott Place, Fairmont. On Aug. 16, 2011, Lemasters pleaded guilty to counts one and two of his indictment. For count one, that being third offense driving on a license revoked for DUI, Lemasters was sentenced to the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for a period of one to three years and fined $3,000; and for count two, that being fleeing from an officer in a vehicle, he was sentenced to one to five years in the state penitentiary.

Those sentences were ordered to run concurrently, with credit for 119 days served. However, per the plea agreement, Lemasters was granted alternative sentencing in the form of one year in home confinement. Also pursuant to the plea agreement, the state dismissed count three of his indictment, that being the felony offense of altering a distinguishing number for a motor vehicle. Judge Karl granted the request for parole and ordered Lemasters to schedule an appointment with Chief Probation Officer John Lantz so he may go over the terms and conditions of parole.

James Ronald Long, 61, of 414 Ohio Street, New Martinsville, appeared in court Monday alongside his appointed defense, Scott Brown, where Judge Karl stated he was going to pass the matter for a few days before he made decisions on previously filed motions to suppress evidence. He urged counsel to continue working towards an agreement and set a return date for Aug. 24, 10 a.m.

Long, along with his brother, Roger Dean Long, 58, of P.O. Box 381, Reader, is charged with 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.



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