Court Entertains Pleas, Offers, And Conferences
BY MIRANDA STOKES
Three guilty pleas, a few plea offers, and several status conferences were addressed among other matters in Wetzel County Circuit Court April 2.
Matthew Lee Farmer, 19, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in Judge Hummel’s courtroom. Hummel sentenced Farmer to the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for one to 10 years with credit for 155 days served. However, alternative sentencing was further imposed.
Treating Farmer as a youthful offender, Hummel ordered Farmer to be placed at the Anthony Correctional Center for six months to two years. Hummel ordered Farmer to successfully complete the program or else his original sentence would be implemented. Following successful completion of the correctional program, Farmer is sentenced to two years supervised probation. Farmer is also to pay all court costs.
Adult Probation Officer John Lantz is to complete a pre-sentence report for the Anthony Correctional Center. Farmer will remain in the Northern Regional Jail until the report is filed and he is transferred.
On or about Oct. 30, 2009, Farmer was picked up with Samuel James Allen Wells in New Martinsville after being stopped by police for running a red light. Soon after receiving a citation for the traffic violation, it was determined they possessed stolen property and the two men were picked up. The stolen property including a computer, PlayStation 2, and cigarettes were recovered.
Cody M. Rine, 22, of HC 60, Box 21C, Reader, pleaded guilty to count two of his two-count indictment. He is convicted of the felony offense of attacking, hindering, or obstructing a firefighter. When Hummel asked why Rine believed he was guilty Rine said, “I did it,” with a shrug. His plea agreement includes dismissal of his count one indictment-unlawful assault against a person who is 65 years of age or older-and a pre-sentence report to be performed by John Lantz. Lantz is to have the report turned into the court by April 26. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 29 at 9:15 a.m. Rine’s conditions of bond continue.
Both counts are alleged to have occurred on or about Sept. 24, 2009. wherein Rine unlawfully, intentionally, feloniously, and knowingly, caused bodily injury to Forrest L. Tennant, both a firefighter and a person who was 65 years of age or older, by hitting him in the face with his hand while Tennant was lawfully exercising or discharging his official duty during an emergency, causing Tennant to be delayed and removed from his emergency vehicle.
William Brian Neff, 37, of 191 North State Route 2, Apt. 477, New Martinsville, pleaded guilty to the lesser included misdemeanor offense of battery to his one-count indictment of unlawful assault. Neff already pleaded guilty to his felony charge in Tyler County and has been sentenced to one to five years. Hummel sentenced Neff to the Division of Corrections for one year with credit for 133 days to run concurrently with his sentence in Tyler County. He is also to pay all court costs and restitution which includes the victim’s medical bill of $1,877.41 for the emergency room visit.
On or about Nov. 16, 2009, Neff allegedly unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly, caused bodily injury to David Eugene Davis with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill the said David Eugene Davis by striking him with his hand. When asked in court why he struck the victim, Neff said they had had a disagreement at the bar earlier that evening.
In the only status conference of its kind last Friday, Kathleen A. Whitehair, 45, of HC 62 Box 67-A, Burton, stood before Judge Hummel for a brief, final hearing. Whitehair previously pleaded innocent to a one-count indictment of felony delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine) that allegedly occurred on April 26.
It was announced on Friday that discovery is complete and her case is ready for trial on May 3 as case number one.
There were also many plea offerings announced in Friday’s hearings. Lujuana Louise Striegle, 22, of 187 North State Route 2, New Martinsville, was in court for a status conference. It was addressed, however, that an offer has been made to Striegle and she has indicated she will accept it. Her attorney, Jeremiah Gardner, and Judge Hummel agreed to continue her case generally and await notification on whether she will accept the proposed agreement. A return date was set for April 29 at 9 a.m. for either a plea or status conference.
Striegle holds a three-count indictment. These three counts are said to have occurred on or about Jan. 12, 2010. Count one is felony offense of possession of a controlled substance (heroin) with intent to deliver wherein she allegedly unlawfully, intentionally, knowingly, and feloniously possessed heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance, which is a narcotic drug, with the intent to deliver the same. Count two is felony offense of possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver wherein she allegedly unlawfully, intentionally, knowingly, and feloniously possessed marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, with the intent to deliver the same. Count three is felony offense child neglect creating risk of serious bodily injury or death wherein Striegle unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly neglected a child, and by such gross neglect created a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or of death to the child by possessing used and loaded heroin syringes in the presence of and in an area easily accessible to the child.
In a separate indictment, on or about Dec. 21, 2009, Striegle allegedly committed the felony offense of delivery of a controlled substance (Vicodin) when she intentionally, knowingly, unlawfully, and feloniously delivered Vicodin, a Schedule III controlled substance, which is a narcotic drug.
Jason Ray Hendershot, 21, of 108 Miller Street, Apt. 5, Paden City, was also present for a status conference. A plea offer was tendered to him a few days prior to their meeting on Friday, however Attorney Gardner and his client had not yet had the opportunity to look it over, however they are inclined to set a plea. Hendershot is scheduled to go to trial on May 3, however he is to return on April 29 at 9:45 a.m. for either a plea or mandatory status conference hearing. His bond continues.
Hendershot faces a one-count indictment for delivery of a controlled substance (oxycontin) to have allegedly occurred on or about Oct. 29, 2009. Hendershot is charged with intentionally, knowingly, unlawfully, and feloniously delivering oxycontin, a Schedule II controlled substance, which is a narcotic drug.
Vincent Wesley Wade, 25, of P.O. Box 323, Hundred, was also offered a plea agreement shortly before his status conference on Friday. His trial date is presently set for May 3, however Wade and his attorney Gardner also asked for some time to discuss the plea offer. Wade is to return on April 29 at 10 a.m. for a plea or mandatory status conference hearing. His bond continues.
Wade holds a one-count indictment of third-degree arson wherein on or about July 26, 2009, Wade allegedly willfully, maliciously, intentionally, unlawfully, knowingly, and feloniously set fire to a 1986 Honda 250cc Four Trax four-wheeler at the intersection of state Route 250 and Petit’s Flat Road in Wetzel County. The said four-wheeler, belonging to Roger Watson, had a value of more than $500.
Herbert C. Rice, 49, of HC 61, Box 53, Knob Fork, was before Judge Hummel for a mandatory status conference. Not much could be said, however, given the potential conflicts with another case involving his wife. Hummel ruled to wait to hear from Rice’s attorney, Kevin Neiswonger, on how they plan to handle such complications. Rice is to return for another status conference on April 29 at 10 a.m.
Rice was indicted in May 2007 on one count first degree sexual assault involving a child, one count first degree sexual abuse, one count incest, and one count sexual abuse by custodian. He also faced charges in Berkley County in June.
Rebecca Dawn Beltran, 20, of RR 1 Box 87 Carmichael, Glen Easton, W.Va., still has matters unresolved regarding her two-count indictment. Beltran and the court moved to waive her term of court again; she will return on May 20 at 9 a.m. Her bond also continues.
Beltran faces a two-count indictment. Count one is a felony offense of entry of a building other than a dwelling to have allegedly occurred between July 16 and 24, 2008, in which she entered a building belonging to Carl Nelson on Commercial St., New Martinsville, with the intent to commit a larceny. Count two is felony grand larceny to have allegedly occurred between the dates of July 16 and 24, 2008, with the value of $1,000 or more of paintball guns and equipment that belonged to Nelson.Douglas Shane Steele, 22, of HC 61, Box 62, New Martinsville, was also in court for a status conference. Due to outstanding issues Steele moved to waive his term of court. He is to return on docket day May 20 at 9 a.m.
Steele is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance (oxycontin) wherein on or about Oct. 29, 2009, he allegedly intentionally, knowingly, unlawfully, and feloniously delivered Oxycontin, a Schedule II controlled substance, which is a narcotic drug, in New Martinsville.
In other matters, two extradition cases were heard in Wetzel County Circuit Court April 2.
Karen Leigh Frantz, 36, of HC 69 Box 82B, Jacksonburg, presently held at Northern Regional Jail, had a warrant issued from Clearfield County, Pa., for failure to appear in court. The waiver of extradition was signed by Frantz and she is remanded to the Northern Regional Jail to await extradition to Pennsylvania.
Mark S. Frazier, 37, of RR1 Box 3, Proctor, was in court to address his extradition back to Belmont County, Ohio. His underlying offense is a misdemeanor charge and as such, Wetzel County Prosecutor Tim Haught explained this wasn’t an extraditable offense and therefore Hummel dismissed Frazier’s case.