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Taylor Pleads Guilty To Battery

By Staff | Jun 16, 2010

Jason Jennings Taylor, 40, of 1030 Third Street, New Martinsville, pleaded guilty to a lesser included misdemeanor of battery to count two of his indictment which was felony offense malicious assault. As per his plea agreement counts one and three were dismissed with prejudice. Taylor was ordered and already prepared to pay restitution in the amount of $17,291.09 to the Circuit Clerk’s office to then be divided and paid to various medical providers who treated the victim in Taylor’s case. Also, Taylor is to pay $240 for court costs. His bond is released upon payment of restitution and court costs. Taylor was sentenced to the Northern Regional Jail for one year, but incarceration was suspended for placement on supervised probation for one year.

Taylor and the victim, J. L. Iams, got involved in a fight. The alcohol-driven fight was supposedly over a woman wherein Taylor showed up at Matthew McDiffitt’s residence and was not invited in. Taylor entered anyhow and from there testimonies vary as to how the altercation began. Iams and McDiffitt state Taylor was the aggressor. However, one objective witness stated she saw that Iams had Taylor in a chokehold. Taylor’s position is that he bit Iams on the thumb out of self defense.

At any rate, Iams suffered over $17,000 in damages and Iams had no objection to Taylor’s plea agreement. Given the nature of the evidence and the fact that Taylor was prepared to pay all restitution, the state was also very satisfied with the plea agreement.

“It’s clear to me that Mr. Taylor was drinking and at the wrong place and the wrong time,” said Haught. “It seems he did start the fight but we are very happy to have collected the restitution in this case for the medical providers.”

Hummel further clarified to the court that the payment of the restitution is going to the benefit of Mr. Iams and while he doesn’t get the money personally, he is the benefactor.

Taylor held a three-count indictment. All three counts are alleged to have occurred on or about Oct. 9, 2009. Count one is felony offense of nighttime burglary in which Taylor allegedly, in the nighttime, intentionally, unlawfully, knowingly, and feloniously enter the residence of Matthew McDiffitt located at 901 James Street, New Martinsville. Count two is felony offense of malicious assault in which he allegedly maliciously, unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly, caused bodily injury to J. L. Iams, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill the said J. L. Iams by biting his thumb. Count three is felony offense assault during commission of a felony in which Taylor allegedly, during the commission of the felony offense of nighttime burglary, did intentionally, maliciously, unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly wound J. L. Iams by biting his thumb.

Jack D. Keys, 52, of P.O. Box 764, New Martinsville, also pleaded guilty in Wetzel County Circuit Court on June 9 to his two-count indictment. Keys pleaded guilty to the felony offense of fleeing from an officer while under the influence; and the misdemeanor second-offense of driving under the influence of alcohol. Both offenses occurred on July 31 in Wetzel County. Keys will be sentenced by Judge Karl on July 2 at 9:15 a.m. Prior to the next hearing Adult Probation Officer John Lantz will perform a pre-sentence report. Until then Keys’ post-conviction bond continues.

In the courtroom on June 9 Wetzel County Prosecutor Tim Haught recounted the events of July 31 wherein Deputy Rob Scott of the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department noticed Keys’ white Chevy Cavalier speeding on state Route 20 between New Martinsville and Porters Falls. Scott discontinued his chase of the vehicle twice out of safety precautions. However soon after Scott spotted the vehicle stopped and the deputy observed Keys putting beer in the trunk. Scott then stopped to speak to him and felt the hood of the car was hot, smelled alcohol on Keys, and noticed two children in the back seat. Keys then failed sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol level of 0.114 and was promptly arrested.

Two 40-ounce bottles of Busch light beer were found in the front seat of the car and more of the same were found in the trunk. The boys in the back seat were interviewed and stated they were frightened because of the high speed at which Keys was traveling and saw the blue lights from the deputy’s car. At the New Martinsville Police Department Keys blood alcohol level was recorded at 0.102 and he was then charged with DUI, his second offense as Keys was charged with DUI in 2004. Additionally, Keys holds a prior felony offense in Ohio for drug possession.

In an ongoing matter finally resolved, George D. Burch, 66, of 302 West Main St., Paden City, failed to appear in court along with his attorney, Patricia Kurelac, once again. Both failed to appear at the last hearing on May 26. At the hearing last Wednesday Pete Kurelac, Patricia Kurelac’s brother and law firm partner, stood in to address the matter at hand.

Mr. Kurelac stated Burch is bedfast and medically unable to appear. Haught agreed and also commented that John Lantz had shared a similar opinion at the last hearing. Haught even tried to contact Dr. Rush by telephone during the hearing to clear matters up, however there was no answer. While the court still had no updated report from Dr. Rush regarding Burch’s competency, Judge Hummel ruled that Burch’s case be dismissed without prejudice on the grounds that the more substantive portion of Dr. Rush’s report indicated very strongly that Burch is not able to reach competency. Burch’s bond and home confinement are also terminated.

Burch faced a three-count indictment: count one, failure to update sex offender registry information, failing or refusing to report his move to a new address; count two, failure to register as a sex offender in the month of his birth to the State Police detachment to have allegedly occurred between the the dates of Sept. 1 and 30, 2007; and count three, failure to register as a sex offender in the month of his birth to the State Police detachment to have allegedly occurred between the dates of Sept. 1 and 30, 2008.