Several Cases Continue In Wetzel Circuit Court
As this term of court draws nearer a close, several more defendants chose to waive their speedy trial rights during hearings held July 29 in Wetzel County Circuit Court with Judge Mark A. Karl presiding. However, a few cases are hoped to be resolved by Aug. 16. Notably, three of the following defendants face new charges which further compromise plea negotiations.
While many still need time to resolve their cases, a few individuals are likely to plead before September, as in the case of Jimmy Dean Barnhart, 46, of 149 Elm Street, New Martinsville. Barnhart appeared in Wetzel County Circuit Court to enter a plea on Friday, however Attorney Kevin Neiswonger stated there were some details left to go over before coming to a final decision. Judge Karl set the return date for Aug. 16 at 1:30 p.m. wherein Barnhart is likely to enter a plea. His bond continues.
On May 27 Barnhart pleaded innocent to his one-count indictment charging him with third offense driving under the influence of alcohol wherein he allegedly drove a motor vehicle on North Fourth Avenue in Paden City while under the influence of alcohol on or about July 23.
Barnhart was previously convicted of the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol in the Magistrate Court of Tyler County on or about April 6, 2001, and in the Magistrate Court of Pleasants County on or about Aug. 19, 2004.
In the same posture, Howard Ray Starkey, 23, of 1026 Third Street, New Martinsville, was also scheduled to plead on Friday, but will instead return Aug. 16 at 1:30 p.m. to enter a plea regarding his four-count indictment for offenses said to have occurred between Feb. 15 and March 24 in Wetzel County. Starkey’s bond continues until his next appearance in circuit court.
Counts one and three charge Starkey with the felony offense of burglary in that he allegedly entered the residence of Robert and Ruth Starkey located at HC 62, Box 40, Pine Grove, with the intent to commit a crime in two occurrences.
Counts two and four charge Starkey with the felony offense of grand larceny wherein he allegedly stole firearms having a cumulative value of more than $1,000 belonging to Robert Michael King at two separate occasions.
Also scheduled to plea on Friday was Curtis A. Lemasters, 26, of 215 Scott Place, Fairmont, who failed to appear. Attorney Jeremiah Gardner stated he spoke with the defendant the day before the hearing and understood Lemasters would be appearing to enter a plea. As Lemasters has made all other court appearances, Judge Karl chose to issue a summons for Lemasters to appear Aug. 16 at 1:30 p.m. Lemasters’ bond continues.
Lemasters is charged with third offense driving on a license revoked for DUI (count one) wherein he operated a motor vehicle on state Route 7 and state Route 20, having previously been convicted of the offense of driving suspended/revoked for DUI in two cases in the Magistrate Court of Marion County on or about Aug. 5, 2008. Lemasters is also charged with the felony offense of fleeing from an officer in a vehicle (count two). Lastly, Lemasters is charged with the felony offense of altering a distinguishing number for a motor vehicle.
Justin Raymond Wyatt, 22, of 1000 Chapline Street, Wheeling, appeared in Wetzel County Circuit Court alongside Attorney Neiswonger who shared with the court that while they were nearing a resolution, Wyatt was recently arrested on a second first-degree robbery charge and therefore negotiations continue. Wyatt was remanded to the Northern Regional Jail and will return Aug. 16 at 1:30 p.m.
On Jan. 26 Wyatt and codefendant Jaynathan Earl Jones, 21, of New Martinsville, entered pleas of innocence to their one-count indictment each of first degree robbery for their acts said to have occurred on or about Sept. 8 in Wetzel County.
Jones and Wyatt allegedly committed robbery by striking and beating a male individual and stealing that individual’s wallet and money in New Martinsville.
Also, Melissa Tanley, 25, of 114 North Second Avenue, Paden City, is still considering a plea offer and will return Aug. 16 at 1:30 p.m.