Seven new indictees entered pleas of innocence during a mass arraignment before the Honorable Judge David W. Hummel Jan. 24 in Wetzel County Circuit Court.
The state is required to file its discovery on or before Feb. 7, 2 p.m. The defense's response is due Feb. 20, and each defendant's trial has been scheduled for the week of March 10 or April 7, unless they enter into a plea agreement prior to their scheduled trial date. Also, pre-trial motions must be made by Feb. 25 and motions will be taken up March 5, 9 a.m.
Chelsea E. Briggs, 23, of 368 Virginia St., New Martinsville entered pleas of innocence to her charges of murder and delivery of a controlled narcotic substance (heroin). The defense requested that Briggs' bond be set at $30,000 cash/surety and that she be monitored on home confinement once bond is posted. Briggs' attorney, Kevin Neiswonger, argued that the alleged crime happened well over a year ago and that Briggs had been aware of the investigation yet had not fled. He further argued that Briggs has a young child. Judge Hummel ruled that the bond would be set at $50,000 and Briggs would be electronically monitored if bond is posted. Briggs will be responsible for payment for the device.
Unless Briggs' enters into a plea agreement prior to the date, a two- to three-day trial is scheduled for April 7.
The alleged offenses of murder and delivery of heroin were to have occurred on Oct. 4, 2012. The alleged murder victim and heroin recipient are James Austin Connell.
William Patrick Carroll, 63, of 88 Rosemar Terrace, Apt. 215, Parkersburg, W.Va., pleaded innocent to his indictment which includes three charges of felony first degree sexual assault.
Carroll's trial, which is expected to take two to three days, has been set for April 9. Caroll's indictment states that in November 2013 he had sexual contact with a male child under 12 years of age.
Chester Gene Tippins, 44, of RR 2 Box 71, New Martinsville, entered a plea of innocence to his three-count indictment which charges him with two counts of sexual abuse in first degree and one count count of third offense domestic battery. Tippins' trial, expected to take one day, has been scheduled for April 7. All of Tippins' alleged felony offenses are to have occurred to the same victim on October 20, 2013.
Wesley Rockwell, 24, of 1 Rockwell Lane, Enterprise, W.Va., and Michael Anthony Rose, 19, of Rt. 2 Box 294A, Shinnston, W.Va., both entered pleas of innocence to their identical true bills for one count each of felony destruction of property. A one-day trial has been scheduled for each defendant for March 13. Allegedly, on July 12, 2013, Rockwell and Rose defaced a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado extended cab pickup truck belonging to EAN Holdings LLC of Tulsa, Okla., by causing the truck to travel down a right of way in Wetzel County, West Virginia. The truck incurred damages in excess of $2,500.
Brandon Leigh Morris, 29, of 994 Rines Ridge Road, Proctor, entered a plea of innocence to his charge of grand larceny. A one- to two-day trial has been scheduled for March 13.
Morris' indictment states that on April 22 he stole a Polaris Ranger side-by-side which belonged to OTIS Eastern Pipeline Services, Inc., from an OTIS work site near New Martinsville.
Andrew William Richard, 24, of 28 Rose St. Lot 80, New Martinsville, entered a plea of innocence to his charge of felony entry of a building other than a dwelling, which allegedly occurred on Nov. 17. A one-day trial was set for March 13.
Richard's indictment states that he entered Tractor Farm Supply (in the New Martinsville Plaza) by climbing over a fence . . . with the intent to commit a larceny.
Larry Virgil Watson Sr., 64, of Post Office Box 506, Hundred, was unable to enter a plea to his five-count indictment due to his hospitalization.
Watson 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 Watson 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."
Also, Nicholas E. Spencer, 30, of 5 Baker Slip, Webster, Mass, was not present in court to enter a plea in regards to his count of felony possession of a controlled narcotic substance (cocaine) due to being imprisoned in Massachusetts; thus, a capias was issued.