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Britton Receives One To Five Year Sentence

By Staff | Nov 26, 2008

Judge John T. Madden sentenced a New Martinsville man Monday to one to five years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for unlawful assault.

Justin Britton, 26, of Villa Apartments, D201, withdrew his previous innocent plea to malicious wounding Monday and entered a guilty plea to a lesser included felony charge of unlawful assault. His counsel, Kevin Neiswonger of the Public Defender Corporation, entered a plea agreement that has been approved by both the defense and the prosecution. Judge Madden said that the plea agreement is in the best interest of both the defendant and the state.

The defendant was previously indicted on four counts: nighttime burglary, malicious wounding, assault during the commission of felony, and robbery in the first degree. The alleged events all occurred at the residence of Michael Anderson of North St., New Martinsville, on Jan. 27. It was reported by Prosecutor Timothy Haught that in the early morning hours of Jan. 27, Britton, along with Timothy Lohri, who will begin a two to 10 year sentence in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men on Dec. 1, entered the victim’s apartment to allegedly steal beer or to beat up Anderson because he called the police to report excessive noise. Britton allegedly held the victim down while his co-defendant, Lohri, began to beat him. Haught said Britton did intercede on behalf of Anderson. According to the prosecutor, Britton did admit to going to the victim’s residence and he did admit to pulling Lohri off of Anderson. Essentially the state perceives Lohri as the principle participant in the offense and that Britton, the defendant, as an accessory.

Neiswonger requested that the sentencing be suspended until Dec. 29. He stated that Britton has been on bond since early June and has, “fully cooperated with the state of West Virginia during the prosecution.” There were no objections by the prosecution. The remaining counts of the indictment were dismissed. Britton was ordered to report to the Northern Regional Jail on Dec. 29 at 9 a.m. to begin his sentence of one to five years.

A capias warrant was issued for James K. Law, 23, of P.O. Box 154 Littleton, who failed to appear on five counts of sexual offenses, for failure to appear in court on Nov. 18 and Nov. 24. Counts one and two, for sexual assault in the third degree, allege Law between Oct. 1, 2007, and Feb. 29, 2008, had intercourse with a female who was less than 16 years old at the time and that he was was at least four years older than the alleged victim. In counts three and four it is alleged Law had sexual contact with the same underage female, committing sexual abuse in the third degree; and in count five it is alleged Law engaged in oral sex with the same underage female, committing sexual assault in the third degree. These offenses are also known as statutory rape.