Spears Pleads Guilty, Receives 10-25 Years
Eric John Spears, 27, of HC 62, Box PP, Pine Grove, was sentenced to 10-25 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men with credit for time served following his sentencing hearing on March 21 in Wetzel County Circuit Court.
On Feb. 9 Spears pleaded guilty to count three of his six-count indictment, that being sexual assault in the second degree. Following his release Spears will be placed on 50 years supervised probation, and must update his sex offender registry with the police. Spears was also ordered to have no contact with the victim in the case, and pay the victim’s counseling fees. Per the plea agreement, the remaining five counts of Spears’ indictments are dismissed.
Judge Mark A. Karl granted Spears one week on bond to get his affairs in order before reporting for incarceration. Spears is to report to the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office at noon on March 28 to begin his sentence.
During the hearing on Monday Wetzel County Prosecutor Tim Haught reiterated that the state did not believe that a case of this nature warranted probation, home confinement, or any form of alternative sentencing.
However Defense Attorney Roger Weese addressed the court in response, urging alternative sentencing due to the fact that should Spears be imprisoned, he would not be able to properly take care of his family and pay for the victim’s counseling. Weese also argued that the defendant needed to pay his own incarceration and not be a burden upon the state. Weese additionally noted that incarceration would hurt Spears as well as his family, and reiterated that Spears was not a threat to society.
Most shockingly, Weese made the argument that if Spears had been 18 years old at the time of the offenses, such punishments would not even be considered. To this Judge Karl agreed, then retorted that in this case, however, Spears was 25 years old at the time of the offenses against the then 14-year-old victim.
While Spears spoke remorsefully and stated how hurt he was, Judge Karl countered that Spears had put the victim in a great deal of pain as well.
All six counts against Spears were to have occurred in the summer of 2009 in Wetzel County. Counts one and three charge Spears with the felony offense of sexual assault in the second degree. Count one alleges he engaged in sexual intrusion with a female. Count three alleges he engaged in sexual intercourse with the same minor, without her consent. Count five of the indictment charges Spears with the felony offense of sexual assault in the first degree in that he allegedly engaged in sexual contact with the same girl.
Counts two, four, and six charge Spears with the felony offense of sexual abuse by a custodian in that he allegedly engaged in sexual intrusion and sexual contact with the same female child under his care, custody, or control.