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Jones Pleads Guilty

By Staff | May 30, 2012

Larry Eugene Jones

Larry Eugene Jones, 47, of 125 South Main Street, New Martinsville, pleaded guilty Friday in Wetzel County Circuit Court, Judge Mark A. Karl presiding, to his one-count indictment for the felony offense of wanton endangerment involving a firearm.

This charge stems from an incident that took place on Nov. 8, 2010, when Jones allegedly performed an act with a firearm which created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another. Jones admitted to committing this act, stating that the incident occurred after he attempted to repossess a car. Jones claims that after he was hit by a person, he pulled out his weapon. The prosecution states that a witness saw Jones point the 9mm handgun pistol at a man’s head.

The maximum sentence for Jones is five years in the penitentiary. Per the terms of the plea agreement though, Jones was sentenced to two years confinement in the West Virginia Penitentiary. This sentence was suspended though, and instead Jones will serve his time on home confinement.

In another matter, Ralph Duane Harter, 63, of Route 1, Box 166A, Middlebourne, appeared alongside his retained counsel, Attorney Scott Brown. The findings of Harter’s competency evaluation revealed that although Harter was found competent to stand trial, he is not criminally responsible for his actions. He has a long history of mental illness, hallucinations, and manic episodes of psychosis, as well as post traumatic stress disorder. These findings were provided by the Charleston Psychiatric Group, specifically Doctors Ralph and Rosemary Smith.

Harter was given a five-count indictment for offenses alleged to have happened at various times in November.

Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 27 Harter allegedly committed the offense of threat of terrorist act for threatening to commit a terrorist act, with the intent to commit the act by threatening to “take matter into his own hands” for what he believed to be the failure of the West Virginia State Police in New Martinsville, to investigate allegations of criminal activity on his real property.

Counts two through five are said to have occurred on or about Nov. 27 in Wetzel County. Count two charges him with retaliation against public employees by retaliating against public employees for the nonperformance of an official duty by discharging a firearm into the rear of the building housing the West Virginia State Police-Paden City Detachment offices located near New Martinsville.

Counts three and four state Harter performed wanton endangerment involving a firearm for performing an act with a firearm which created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another by discharging a firearm into the rear of the same said building, thereby creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm to any persons inside the offices, anyone traveling on state Route 2, and anyone traveling on state Route 180.

Count five alleges he committed the offense of felony destruction of property for defacing the building housing the West Virginia State Police, Paden City Detachment offices, causing a loss in the value of the property in an amount exceeding $2,500 by discharging a firearm in the rear of the said building located in New Martinsville.

Assistant Prosecutor Worthy Paul requested time to review the findings. Harter will return to court June 29 at 10 a.m.

Also, H. John Rogers, 72, of 317 Foundry St., New Martinsville, appeared in court Friday to appeal a no contest plea he made before a special magistrate in November 2011.

Special Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee stated before the court that the state’s position is that the only thing the court can do is review the sentence the magistrate imposed, which was an effective 10-day incarceration. Rogers pleaded no contest on Nov. 30, 2011, to the misdemeanors of malicious application to declare a person mentally ill and false swearing. Rogers was then sentenced, respectively, to 10 days and 90 days to run concurrently in the Northern Regional Jail. However, that sentence was suspended to 10 days incarceration and two years probation. Also, he was ordered to pay, for each charge, a $150 fine and $280.80 costs.

Court files say that in his false swearing Rogers said of the victim, “He physically assaulted me, twice, at 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on July 27 with no provocation.”

In another matter, Attorney Kevin Neiswonger reported Thursday afternoon to the court that plea negotiations had not been fruitful in the case involving Leslie Debolt, 41, of 416 Foundry Street, New Martinsville. Hence, a trial date has been set for July 23 at 9 a.m.

On Feb. 22 Debolt pleaded innocent to his four-count indictment for offenses alleged to have occurred on or about Sept. 28 in Wetzel County.

Count one charges Debolt with fleeing from an officer while DUI for fleeing in an automobile on state Route 2 and on Foundry Street in New Martinsville.

Count two states he committed the misdemeanor offense of driving under the influence of any controlled substance.

Count three charges him with misdemeanor reckless driving for driving at a high rate of speed, nearly striking a child, and by striking a pole on Foundry Street.

Count four states Debolt committed the misdemeanor offense of domestic assault for committing an act which placed his girlfriend in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury by chasing her both inside and outside their home in New Martinsville.

Timothy John Judge, 31, of P.O. Box 132, Friendly, also appeared in court on Friday. It was reported that there had been no resolution to plea negotiations. Thus, a trial date has been set for Aug. 13 at 9 a.m. The trial is expected to last one day.

Judge is charged with two counts of failure to update sex offender registry information in that allegedly between June 16 and July 14, in Wetzel County, he, being required to register as a sex offender for life, did knowingly, unlawfully, and feloniously fail to register or provide a change in information to the West Virginia State Police in Wetzel County by knowingly failing or refusing to report his move to a new address (count one) and knowingly failing or refusing to report a new vehicle or change in vehicle (count two).

A plea agreement is anticipated in the case involving Larry Joe George. George, 29 of Post Office Box 67, Reader, was previously handed a three-count indictment for burglary-related offenses said to have occurred on or about June 24 in Wetzel County against Ronnie Goodrich.

Count one charges George for allegedly breaking into the dwelling house of Goodrich, located near Jacksonburg, with the intent to commit a crime therein.

Count two states that George committed the offense of entry of a building other than a dwelling for entering a locked garage near Goodrich’s dwelling.

Count three charges George with the misdemeanor offense of petit larceny for carrying away firearms, those being a Thompson Center Arms .50 caliber muzzleloader, a Topper model 158 12-gauge shotgun, and a Hornett Dockemdorff .22 caliber rifle, having a cumulative value of less than $1,000 belonging to Goodrich, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of said firearms.

It was reported that George needs to give a statement to the police involving new charges though, as George has recently been charged with entry of a building other than a dwelling and larceny. George allegedly intentionally, unlawfully, and feloniously broke and entered an out building located on property belonging to John Hall of North Fork Road, Pine Grove, and stole goods cumulatively valuing more than $1,000. A return date was set for June 29 at 10 a.m.

A motion to suppress evidence in the case involving Larry Virgil Watson was denied by Judge Karl. Karl reported that there was no evidence that Wade, Watson’s live-in girlfriend, was under duress when she gave verbal permission for the police to search her and Watson’s shared bedroom, where a marijuana plant was allegedly found in a trash can.

On Jan. 17, 2011, Watson was handed a one-count indictment for the felony offense of manufacturing a controlled substance (marijuana) wherein on or about Sept. 27, 2010, in Wetzel County, he manufactured, by cultivation, marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance.

Plea negotiations are ongoing in the case involving Summer Sellers Riley, 29, of 187 North State Route 2, Villa Apartments, New Martinsville. Thus a return date as been set for June 29, 10 a.m.

On Feb. 7 Riley pleaded innocent to her one count indictment for felony delivery of a controlled substance (oxycodone), an offense which is alleged to have been committed on Sept. 10, 2011, in New Martinsville.

Allen G. Grayam, 23, of 537 Market Street, Clarington, Ohio, pleaded guilty to the lesser included misdemeanor offense of petit larceny. Previously, Grayam had been handed a two-count indictment charging him with one count of the felony offense of conspiracy to commit grand larceny, as well as grand larceny, in that he stole a 32-inch television from the New Martinsville Wal-Mart. Grayam was sentenced to prison for six months, but the sentence was suspended. Grayam will instead serve one year of probation.