Smitley Pleads Guilty To Stalking
Russell L. Smitley, 52, of New Martinsville, was convicted of the misdemeanor offense of stalking Tuesday in Wetzel County Magistrate Court. Smitley entered a no contest plea before Special Magistrate David Buzzard, a Marshall County magistrate who was assigned to the case by Judge Mark A. Karl after Wetzel County magistrates Tom Shepherd and Judy Goontz recused themselves earlier this year.
Smitley was arrested by Sergeant J. A. Laing of the West Virginia State Police on May 7, 2010. In his criminal complaint, Laing alleged that he had taken prior complaints by the adult female victim that Smitley would not leave her alone and continued to follow her, approach her, and that she had become fearful. Smitley was arrested on Paden Fork Road after the victim called Laing after leaving Choo-Choo’s Restaurant, and related that Smitley had been waiting on her and pulled out in front of her going south on state Route 2. Laing instructed the victim to turn south on state Route 180 and meet him at Paden Fork. A few minutes later, Smitley drove by Laing and the victim on Paden Fork Road where he was then stopped by Laing and placed under arrest.
Smitley’s attorney, Kevin Neiswonger, related to the Special Magistrate that he intended to resign as a member of the New Martinsville Police Department following his plea. Smitley was fined in the amount of $300 and ordered to have no further contact of any kind with the victim or her family members.
Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee was appointed special prosecutor by Judge Karl earlier this year after Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught was disqualified. Following the hearing, Furbee said, “I was ready to go forward with the bench trial today, but Mr. Smitley decided to enter a plea and take responsibility. He’s convicted now of an offense which, in my opinion, will prohibit him from possessing firearms and certain other weapons for the rest of his life under federal law. The victim and her family are satisfied with the result, and the state is satisfied. No one is above the law. That principle was observed here today. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve Wetzel County as special prosecutor.”