In Tuesday afternoon's session of Wetzel County Circuit Court, Joseph Leroy Watson pleaded guilty to fourth degree arson, a lesser included offense of his original indictment.
A presentencing report will be filed by Chief Probation Officer John Lantz. The maximum penalty for this offense would be a fine of $2,500, along with a prison sentence of two years, with credit for 10 days served. Watson will return to court Sept. 28, 10 a.m., for arguing of the sentence.
Haught stated that if the case had gone to trial, the prosecution would argue that on Feb. 15, in Littleton, Watson was at the residence of Rose Watson. After getting into an argument with his girlfriend, Joseph Watson was told to leave by Rose Watson.
He returned to the residence, forced himself in, and a scuffle commenced, during which Joseph Watson stated he would burn the house down. Haught reports that although the house did not catch on fire, the curtains did.
For these alleged acts, Watson was given a six-count indictment by the grand jury in May. He was charged with nighttime burglary and first degree arson, in addition to three charges of domestic battery and one charge of battery.
The three counts of domestic battery stem from allegations that Watson willfully and unlawfully struck his aunt, brother, and girlfriend.
The final charge of battery alleges that Watson struck Tiffany Garrison in the face at the residence of Rose Watson.
With the start of the new court term just a few short weeks away, on Thursday several defendants chose to waive their rights to a speedy trial.
In circuit court on Thursday, James E. Duerr, 30, of 825 Market Street, Apt. A, Wheeling, W.Va., pleaded guilty to a one count information charging him with grand larceny.
For this offense, Duerr has been sentenced to one to 10 years with credit for 98 days already served in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men. Per the terms of the plea agreement, Duerr's Wetzel County sentence will run concurrent with a sentence he is already serving for similar crimes committed in Marshall County.
On or about April 16, Duerr was caught stealing two televisions from New Martinsville's Wal-Mart. Duerr is to pay $2,434.76 in restitution for this crime and he is permanently banned from New Martinsville's Wal-Mart. Furthermore, Duerr admits to having a drug problem and requests drug counseling