Larry Joe George, 30, of P.O. Box 67, Reader, was sentenced on Friday in Wetzel County Circuit Court to one to 10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men. He is to report to the Wetzel County Sheriff's Office by noon on Aug. 31 to be transported to the Northern Regional Jail to begin serving his sentence.
He had asked, through Defense Attorney Jeremiah Gardner, for probation. Gardner noted that George had part-time employment and dependents.
When asked if he had anything to say to the court prior to sentencing, George said, "I wish I had never committed the crime. It was wrong. I apologize. I'm ready to get back on my feet."
The probation request was refused by Judge Mark A. Karl who went through a litany of George's past charges that included cocaine, burglary, and driving under the influence.
"Probation candidates are those with no prior records, no prior offenses. I am not inclined to grant probation," said Karl.
However, he did tell George that his attorney can file a Rule 35 request for a reduction in sentence after serving fourth months.
George pleaded guilty on July 20 to the lesser included offense of entry of a dwelling. As part of the plea agreement, all other charges from his January and May indictments were dropped.
In January, George was handed a three-count indictment for burglary-related offenses said to have occurred on or about June 24 in Wetzel County against Ronnie Goodrich. Those charges were for burglary, entry of a building other than a dwelling, and petit larceny. In May, the grand jury handed George a two count indictment: entry of a building other than a dwelling and larceny.
In another matter, a sentence of one to 10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men was suspended for Denton Franklin Pletcher Jr., 20, of HC 62 Box 47, Burton, and he was placed on two years probation. If he makes restitution by the end of that period, then his sentence will be completed.
Defense Attorney Roger Weese, Prosecutor Timothy Haught, and Probation Officer John Lantz were all in agreement that Pletcher was a good candidate for probation. Haught said when trying to gather information for the prosecution of co-defendants, "Mr. Pletcher was truthful, I believe, with our officer."
Saying he has no prior felony criminal offenses and is gainfully employed, Haught continued, "I would not be opposed to him being placed on probation for two years."
Weese pointed out that Pletcher is young with no prior record; he doesn't do drugs or alcohol, Weese noted. "This was a one-time incident. It was not pre-planned," said Weese. "He basically got sucked in with these other individuals." With the support and love of his family members, he stated, "We believe he would be an ideal candidate for probation."
Agreeing with the arguments, Judge Karl told Pletcher, "You're getting a chance at this point to turn your life around."
On July 16 Pletcher pleaded guilty in Wetzel County Circuit Court to one count of grand larceny. Pletcher confessed to stealing tools and saws, valuing more than $1,000, off the back of a company truck belonging to Savage Heavy Highway, located in Wetzel County.