Benjamin Dale Francis' request for a reduction in sentence was denied by Judge Mark A. Karl in circuit court Friday.
The court learned that Francis, 33, of 1014 Third Street, New Martinsville, has just recently visited with the prison's parole board, who denied him parole because of the nature of his offenses; Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught speculated that Francis might have received some write-ups since being incarcerated. "It's our decision that the court should defer to the parole board," he stated, before adding, "Mr. Francis has a lengthy criminal record."
"Your honor, I have not received any write-ups," Francis argued. "I've been in a drug rehab program. To my knowledge, I have not been denied by the parole board. I went in front of them. They said they would consider me until they had my psych evaluation. I've remained write-up free. I'm ready to get out and be a productive member of society." Francis added that he had 15 months left to serve his sentence. "I know if I mess up, I have 15 more months. I've stayed trouble free while I've been incarcerated."
Benjamin Dale Francis
Karl decided that since the parole board is taking the matter under consideration, he was not inclined to grant a rule 35b motion for a reduction of sentence. "Keep me apprised if Francis receives parole. I'm not granting 35b, I'm taking it under advisement."
On June 29, 2012, Francis pleaded guilty to count one of his indictment, the offense of attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer on June 29. This charge stemmed from an incident that occurred on Dec. 9, 2011, in New Martinsville, when Francis attempted to disarm Patrolman Don Larsen, acting in his official capacity as a patrolman for the New Martinsville Police Department, by grabbing Patrolman Larsen's weapon and attempting to pull it from its holster.
Francis was sentenced to one to five years at the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men, with credit for time served, 202 days.
Joshua Burch, 28, of 447B Martyn Avenue, New Martinsville, will enter into a plea agreement March 4, 10 a.m. His attorney, Thomas White, reported to the court that the plea agreement has been confirmed, yet additional time is necessary to put it into writing.
Burch's indictment alleges that on or about July 11, Burch conspired with three people to deliver the Schedule III controlled narcotic substance.
Prosecutor Haught reported that he had been discussing an issue relative to restitution with the defense counsel in the case involving Justin Matthew Martie, 25, of 454 N. Main Street, New Martinsville. Haught stated he needed to get a confirmation regarding an exact restitution figure and that, if he and Gardner could resolve the restitution issue based on some of the information Gardner gave him, they could have a resolution. Gardner stated that he had more information to provide Haught regarding child support. A return date was set for March 22, 10 a.m.
From the September 2012 grand jury, Martie received a two-count indictment. Count one states that on or about June 21, 2008, Martie feloniously stole a 2002 Suzuki Ozark ATV which belonged to David L. Smith. Count two of the indictment states that between July 5 and 14, 2008, Martie committed the felony offense of third degree arson in that he set fire to and burned a 2002 Suzuki Ozard ATV, which had a value of more than $500.
Attorney Brent Clyburn requested additional time to discuss matters with Haught regarding the case of his client, Gary L. Wade, 26, of HC 62, Box BB, Pine Grove. Clyburn stated he needed to discuss with Haught an electronic part of discovery that wouldn't open. He added that he also wanted to discuss a possible resolution with Haught; therefore, Karl set a return date for March 22, 10 a.m. Count one of Wade's three-count indictment charges him with delivery of oxycodone which allegedly occurred on or about April 17. Count two and three charge Wade with conspiracy to deliver oxycodone and delivery of oxycodone, both of which occurred on or about Sept. 6.
David C. White requested additional time for the case involving his client, Paul James Ellenwood, 18, of 187 North State Route 2, Apt. D104, New Martinsville. White stated that upon a return date, counsel would advise the court as to whether or not the case can be settled with a plea or if a trial will be necessary. Therefore, Karl set the return date for March 22, 10 a.m.
From the September 2012 grand jury, Ellenwood received a two-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to deliver oxycodone, as well as delivery of oxycodone. These offenses allege that on or about June 18, Ellenwood conspired with another to deliver oxycodone.
The case of Larry Virgil Watson has been set for trial for April 18, 9 a.m. Counsel predicted that the trial would take approximately one-and-a-half days.
On Jan. 17, 2011, Watson was handed a one-count indictment for the felony offense of manufacturing a controlled substance (marijuana) wherein on or about Sept. 27, 2010, in Wetzel County, he allegedly manufactured, by cultivation, marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance.
In another matter, a trial will be necessary in the case involving Charles Robert Wells, 46, of P.O. Box 53, Proctor. However, due to a limited number of trial dates left in Judge Karl's calendar, Wells agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial. He is set to appear again in court on May 15, 10 a.m.
From the January 2012 grand jury, Wells received a one-count felony indictment for third-offense domestic battery. He is alleged to have struck his girlfriend in the face with his hand and kicked her in the ribs with his foot on Oct. 24, 2011.
Additionally, from the September grand jury, Wells was charged with third or subsequent offense domestic battery, as well as battery. It alleges that on July 16 Wells intentionally struck a person in the face by throwing a can of soda or beer at her in New Martinsville.
Attorney David C. White informed the court that Natasha Lynn Tedrow's case will most likely result in a plea. However, he requested a return date so that he could confirm this with the court. Therefore, the matter was passed until March 22, 10 a.m.
Tedrow, 22, of 447B Martin Ave., New Martinsville, received a one-count indictment charging her with conspiracy to deliver Subutex. The indictment states that on or about July 11, Tedrow conspired with Joshua E. Burch, Jason Scott Dalrymple, and an unknown white male to deliver Subutex.
White reported that the same could be said for the case involving another client, Justin Kyle Smith, 23, of 524 Martin Avenue, New Martinsville. Therefore, Smith will return to court March 22, 10 a.m. At that time, counsel will alert the court as to whether a trial is necessary.
Attorney Robert McCoid alerted the court that counsel has discussed possibly resolving the case involving Ryan Vown Isaacs, 27, of 65 Orchard Drive, New Martinsville; however, nothing definite is in place yet. McCoid then requested an on-the-record bench conference. After the bench conference, Judge Karl set a return date for March 22, 10 a.m.
Isaacs received two indictments charging him with sexual related offenses. The first indictment includes two counts each of sexual abuse in the first degree and sexual abuse by a custodian, each set occurring at a separate time than the other. The charges allege that Isaacs subjected a child who was supposed to be under his care to sexual contact.
Isaacs' second indictment charges him with two counts each of sexual assault in the first degree, incest, and sexual abuse by a custodian. Each set occurred at different times.
A return date was set for Dec. 6, noon. Based on a bench conference, it was determined that Isaacs could be released on his former bond.
McCoid stated that the same issue with Isaacs' case also exists in the case involving his other client, Brian Keith Highley. Therefore, the matter was passed and Highley will return to court on March 22, 10 a.m.
Highley received two indictments from the September 2012 grand jury. Counts one and four of the first indictment charge Highley with sexual assault in the first degree. Count one states that between July 10, 2011, and Nov. 18, 2011, Highley committed the felony offense of sexual assault in the first degree in that he engaged in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with a person who was younger than 12 years. Count four states that the felony offense occurred between Nov. 18, 2011, and May 3, 2012.
Counts two and five charge Highley with incest. Count two allegedly occurred between July 10, 2011, and Nov. 18, 2011. Count five allegedly occurred between Nov. 18, 2011, and May 3, 2012.
Counts three and six charge Highley with sexual abuse by a custodian in that he engaged in or attempted to engage in sexual contact with a child under his care. Count three allegedly occurred between July 10, 2011, and Nov. 18, 2011. Count six allegedly occurred between Nov. 18, 2011, and May 3, 2012.