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Murder Is Among Grand Jury Charges

January 22, 2014
BY AMY WITSCHEY - Editor ( , Wetzel Chronicle

One charge each of murder and attempted murder are among the 18 true bills returned by the Wetzel County grand jury that met Jan. 14.

The jury indicted nine defendants for this session of circuit court, to be presided by Judge David W. Hummel.

Chelsea E. Briggs, 23, of 368 VIrginia St., New Martinsville, is facing an indictment for murder and delivery of a controlled narcotic substance (heroin), both to have occurred on Oct. 4, 2012. The alleged murder victim and heroin recipient are James Austin Connell. While the indictment says he was of New Martinsville, his obituary on the website of the Higgs Funeral Home of Soperton, Ga., lists him as a lifelong resident of northern Montgomery County, Georgia. It says he was a pipefitter for Chicago Bridge & Iron Company in West Virginia.

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Larry Virgil Watson Sr., 64, of Post Office Box 506, Hundred, received a five-count indictment charging him with attempted murder, malicious assault, and three counts of wanton endangerment involving a firearm.

All the charges stem from an incident on Aug. 13 near Littleton. At that time he allegedly "did feloniously, willfully, maliciously, deliberately, unlawfully, and premeditatedly attempt to slay, kill, and murder Joseph Marcus Prendergast in Wetzel County. West Virginia, by shooting him with a firearm." The wanton endangerment charges are for allegedly "creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm" to two individuals and law enforcement officers. The individuals were at a residence near where Watson allegedly discharged a firearm. The last count says "after being repeatedly instructed to drop or surrender the same by Law Enforcement Officers, thereby creating a substantial risk of death or bodily harm to Law Enforcement Officers."

Chester Gene Tippins, 44, of RR 2 Box 71, New Martinsville, was given a three-count indictment for two counts of sexual abuse in first degree and one for third offense domestic battery. All three felony counts are to have occurred to the same victim on Oct. 20.

William Patrick Carroll, 63, of 88 Rosemar Terrace, Apt. 215, Parkersburg, W.Va., was given a three-count indictment-all for felony sexual assault in the first degree. The true bills say that in November 2013 Carroll did have sexual contact with a male child under 12 years of age.

Nicholas E. Spencer, 30, of 5 Baker Slip, Webster, Mass, was the subject of a one-count indictment for felony possession of a controlled narcotic substance (cocaine) with intent to deliver. The offense is to have occurred on July 29, 2012.

Wesley Rockwell, 24, of 1 Rockwell Lane, Enterprise, W.Va., and Michael Anthony Rose, 19, of Rt. 2 Box 294A, Shinnston, W.Va., received identical true bills for one count of felony destruction of property. It alleges that on July 12, 2013, they "did willfully, intentionally, unlawfully, and feloniously destroy, injure, or deface a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado extended cab pickup truck belonging to EAN Holdings LLC of Tulsa, Okla., by causing said truck to travel down a right of way in Wetzel County, West Virginia, thereby damaging said truck in an amount in excess of $2,500."

Brandon Leigh Morris, 29, of 994 Rines Ridge Road, Proctor, received a one-count indictment for grand larceny. The felony is to have occurred on April 22 when Morris allegedly did "feloniously steal, take, and carry away a Polaris Ranger side-by-side . . . belonging to OTIS Eastern Pipeline Services, Inc., from an OTIS work site near New Martinsville." It has a value of over $1,000.

Andrew William Richard, 24, of 28 Rose St. Lot 80, New Martinsville, was given an indictment for felony entry of a building other than a dwelling.

The true bill alleges that on Nov. 17 he entered without breaking Tractor Farm Supply (in the New Martinsville Plaza) by climbing over a fence. . . with the intent to commit a larceny therein."



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