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Judge Sentences Richmond, Hinkle

By Staff | Sep 21, 2011

Christopher Lee Richmond

Two pleaded guilty and were sentenced in Wetzel County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Judge Mark A. Karl presided over these cases in addition to three others, which are set for return Oct. 17.

Christopher Lee Richmond, 22, of 38669 State Route 7, Sardis, will spend a minimum of three years in the state penitentiary following his guilty plea made in Wetzel County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Richmond pleaded guilty to counts two and 10 of his 27-count indictment, both being the felony offense of entry of a building other than a dwelling. The judge sentenced Richmond to one to 10 years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary for Men for each count, to run consecutively. Furthermore, these sentences will run consecutively with another one-to-10-year sentence Richmond received for a breaking and entering case in Marshall County. In total, Richmond will serve three to 30 years for his offenses.

Richmond will receive credit for 246 days served and has agreed to testify against codefendant Phillip David Montgomery, 20, also of 38669 State Route 7, Sardis, who faces the same 27 charges. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the state dismissed the remaining counts in Richmond’s indictment.

Richmond is also ordered to pay court costs and pay pro rata share of restitution. Richmond was remanded to the Northern Regional Jail.

During his hearing Cassandra Richmond, his sister and victim in count 26 of the indictment, addressed the court on behalf of her brother stating he not only cooperated with law enforcement, but helped authorities recover several stolen guns. “He does need to do his time,” she said, further noting she believed he could better himself in jail. Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught concurred with everything Cassandra Richmond shared and added the defendant did fully confess to all of the offenses and expressed remorse for his actions.

When asked if the defendant had anything to say to the court, he said, “I didn’t mean to hurt nobody. I’m sorry.”

Richmond and Montgomery were handed a 27-count indictment each for offenses ranging from burglary to destruction of property and larceny.

Elson Hinkle IV, 25, of 427 South Third Avenue, Paden City, pleaded guilty to a one count of information of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (heroin) on Tuesday. For his offense Hinkle was sentenced to the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for one to five years. Pursuant to the plea agreement, however, the execution of that sentence was suspended for two years supervised probation, six months of which will be served on home confinement with work release.

Notably, his wife Tori, 22, of Paden City, pleaded guilty to the same on June 8 and was sentenced to one to five years in the state penitentiary on July 15.

Elson Hinkle is further ordered to pay court costs in addition to home incarceration fees and is to forfeit all monies and property seized by the New Martinsville Police Department during the investigation. Also per the agreement, the state dismissed Hinkle’s case pending in circuit court. As requested, Hinkle will receive drug counseling as a condition of his sentence.

On July 29 Hinkle pleaded innocent to his two-count indictment of possession and delivery of a controlled substance (heroin) with the intent to deliver.

On March 3 at approximately 11:54 p.m., New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil stopped a vehicle heading south on state Route 2 in New Martinsville, just past the railroad track crossing. The vehicle had been crossing the yellow highway lines, leading Chief Cecil to suspect a possible DUI offense. During the stop Cecil noticed the driver, Elson Hinkle, had “glassy eyes” but no smell of alcohol. Chief Cecil called Detective Donnie Harris, who arrived on the scene with the department’s police dog, Kenny. Deputy Randy Adams of the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office and NMPD patrolmen Don Larsen and Bruce Smith also assisted with the incident.

Following a search, 110 stamps of heroin (valued at roughly $4,400) were found on Tori Hinkle’s person. She was in the passenger seat.

In another matter, Daniel L. Postlethwait, 26, of 28 Rose Street, Lot 42 South, New Martinsville, appeared in Wetzel County Circuit Court alongside Attorney H. John Rogers to hear the judge’s ruling on whether or not a photograph sent to the alleged victim in Postlethwait’s case qualified as obscene matter. Judge Karl ruled in favor of the state, saying the photograph was obscene material. Rogers stated he felt there was a possibility to resolve the case and as such a return date was set for Oct. 17 at 1:30 p.m. Postlethwait remains on bond.

On Oct. 18 Postlethwait entered a plea of innocence to his one-count indictment for his offense said to have occurred during the month of March in Wetzel County wherein he allegedly committed the felony offense of display of obscene matter to a minor in that he displayed such matter to a minor.

Meanwhile, John Cody Postlethwait, 20, of 715 Fifth Street, New Martinsville, appeared alongside Attorney Kevin Neiswonger wherein Neiswonger shared with the court that due to a family emergency his client was not able to meet with him prior to the hearing to fill out paperwork regarding a plea agreement. At their request the judge ruled to reset the matter for Oct. 17 at 1:30 p.m. John Cody Postlethwait remains on bond and will return in October to enter a plea.

On May 27 John Cody Postlethwait pleaded innocent to his one-count indictment alleging that on or about Jan. 19, he committed the felony offense of delivery of a controlled substance (marijuana), a Schedule I controlled substance.

On Oct. 27 he entered a plea of innocence to his three-count indictment charging him with offenses of a sexual nature wherein on or about Aug. 4, 2009, in Wetzel County he allegedly committed the felony offense sexual assault in the second degree (counts one and two) and sexual abuse in the first degree (count three).

In addition to these charges John Cody Postlethwait was recently arrested in July for grand larceny.

Lastly, Howard Ray Starkey, 23, of 1026 Third Street, New Martinsville, was unable to appear for his plea hearing on Tuesday due to his work schedule, as relayed to the court by Attorney Neiswonger. The judge reset the hearing for Oct. 17 at 1:30 p.m. Starkey’s bond continues until his October plea date.

Starkey received a four-count indictment for his offenses said to have occurred between Feb. 15 and March 24, 2010, in Wetzel County.

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.