Howell, Webber Appear In Court
John Michael Howell, 42, of HC 61 Box 114, New Martinsville, will return to Wetzel County Magistrate Court Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m. for a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Tom Shepherd. Howell was present for a hearing in magistrate court Dec. 22 wherein his motion to continue his case was granted on the grounds that his counsel, appointed attorney Jeremiah Gardner, needed additional time to speak to witnesses.
Howell is charged with one count each of sexual assault in the first degree, malicious wounding, and kidnapping following an alleged assault against his wife to have occurred the evening of Dec. 14 at his residence. The two had been separated since Aug. 26 and have a child in common.
Howell remains held in the Northern Regional Jail without bond based on the kidnapping charge.
Also, James Russell Webber, 66, of 83 Northgate Drive, New Martinsville, will return to Wetzel County Magistrate Court Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. before Magistrate Tom Shepherd for a motions hearing.
Webber was arrested Dec. 8 for one count of solicitation of murder. Webber allegedly attempted to hire a man to murder several individuals in the Ohio Valley area due to a supposed grudge over roofing work done years ago.
Webber appeared in magistrate court Dec. 15 for his preliminary hearing wherein a motion made by the defendant to continue the case was granted on the grounds that Attorney David Jividen was just hired to represent Webber that morning.
However new paperwork has been filed to indicate Webber has hired a new attorney to handle his case: Martin P. Sheehan of Wheeling. Sheehan filed a motion on Dec. 29 to request modified bail from $250,000 cash only to $250,000 with a justification of sureties on the grounds that Webber has a constitutional right to bail. Furthermore Sheehan writes that Webber is able to provide a justification of sureties in the face amount of $286,380 for an effective bond of $477,300, an amount which Sheehan believes should be accepted as adequate.
Webber is still being held in the Northern Regional Jail in lieu of a $250,000 cash bond.