Judge Rules Hoover’s Statements Admissible
A voluntariness and suppression hearing was heard in Wetzel County Circuit Court on Tuesday in the case of Newman B. Hoover II, 43, formerly of Route 1, Box 105, New Martinsville, and presently of 140 Cecil Meneffe Drive, Moorefield, W.Va. During this hearing the state called testimony from Sgt. Charles Walter Kush of the West Virginia State Police and Deputy Sheriff Eric Daugherty of the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office regarding the nature of a polygraph and two statements made by Hoover to law enforcement.
Following the testimonies, Judge Mark A. Karl found Hoover’s polygraph results and statements to have been made both voluntarily and properly on all three occasions detailed in testimony and reports. Such documents will be accepted as viable evidence to the case. Hoover was remanded to the Northern Regional Jail and will return March 7 at 10 a.m.
Special Prosecuting Attorney Worthy Paul called Sgt. Kush to discuss the manner in which his meeting with the defendant was conducted. Kush stated he met Hoover on March 30, 2010, at the New Martinsville Police Department to conduct a polygraph examination. Prior to the examination Kush testified that he went over the Miranda Rights form with the defendant, line by line, wherein Hoover was instructed to mark his initials by each line indicating his understanding of each right. At the end of the form is a paragraph agreeing to waive the rights outlined previously, which Kush read allowed to Hoover. Then Hoover was instructed to sign and date the bottom of the form, signing the waiver. Kush testified that Hoover seemed to understand everything that was read to him and he also appeared to understand that he was not under arrest and could leave at any time, contrary to the defense’s argument.
Kush also stated the entire interview with Hoover took approximately two hours and that, per the nature of the polygraph, Hoover was given three mandatory breaks in addition to any other breaks he wished to take. It was noted he did not take any additional breaks. It was also stressed to the court that Hoover was not placed under arrest at any time, handcuffed, nor threatened or promised anything throughout the interview and examination.
Regarding Hoover’s demeanor during the meeting, Kush said he recalled Hoover being nervous but cooperative, and stable.
Attorney Jeremiah Gardner then cross-examined Kush, bringing up the medications the defendant was taking at the time of the examination. It was stated in court that Hoover is taking Vicodin and Flexeril as prescribed to him to treat pain. Gardner asked if Hoover appeared to be under the influence of any substances and also asked if taking, or not taking, prescribed medications would affect the results of the polygraph. Kush stated that in his professional opinion the defendant did not appear to be under the influence of any substances and that none of those factors would have affected the interview or the results of the polygraph.
Lastly, Gardner asked if Hoover had worn sunglasses the day of the examination and if Hoover appeared sleepy. Kush said he couldn’t recall, but noted to the court that yawning was sometimes a nervous reaction. Kush underlined that the polygraph results indicated Hoover’s nervous system reacted normally and that he did not believe any of the factors mentioned would have played a part in the results.
The state then called Deputy Daugherty to the stand. Daugherty interviewed Hoover on two separate occasions: once on March 9, 2010 at the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office and again on March 30, 2010 at the New Martinsville Police Department. On both occasions Daugherty testified that Miranda Rights forms were read aloud to and signed by Hoover. The interviews took 14 minutes and 19 minutes, respectively, during which time Daugherty asked Hoover various, pertinent questions, and took down Hoover’s statement.
As with Kush’s testimony, Daugherty claimed Hoover appeared of sound mind and health, understanding that he was not under arrest nor obligated to make statements, and that he could take breaks as needed or leave at anytime. Similarly, Daugherty stated no threats or promises were made to the defendant at either meeting.
Gardner asked Daugherty if he made the requests for Hoover’s signatures in a forced manner, implying that perhaps the defendant did not feel he had a choice but to waive his rights. Daugherty said Hoover indicated he understood the procedure.
During Gardner’s questioning, Daugherty noted Hoover’s apparent yawning on March 30. Daugherty explained that Hoover seemed nervous and was acting as though he were yawning, but that no air was being moved. From what he could tell, Daugherty said it seemed Hoover was opening and closing his mouth out of nervousness. Also, Daugherty remembered Hoover wearing sunglasses on March 30, because he specifically asked him to remove them so his pupils could be seen.
Judge Karl ruled Hoover’s statements were made under proper conditions and procedures.
On Nov. 9 Hoover stood silent as the court entered innocent pleas for his six-count indictment for his offenses said to have occurred between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, 2009, and between April 12, 2008, and April 11, 2009, in Wetzel County.
Count one indicts Hoover with the felony offense of sexual assault in the third degree; count two charges Hoover with the felony offense of sexual abuse by a custodian; count three alleges that Hoover committed the felony offense of incest. Counts four, five, and six of his indictment charge Hoover with sexual assault in the third degree, sexual abuse by a custodian, and incest.