homepage logo

Wetzel Court Sees Full Docket, Several Defendants

By Staff | Jul 3, 2012

A total of 23 cases were on Friday’s docket for Wetzel County Circuit Court, including several arraignments, two guilty pleas, and three probation revocation hearings.

In the case involving Alex Alex Wayne Pyles, 23, of HC 60 Box 99, Valley Manor Apt. 14, Pine Grove, Pyles’ attorney Keith Hart filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, stating that Pyles had been unable to fulfill his financial arrangements. A petition to revoke bond was also filed, with no objections.

Public Defender Jeremiah Gardner then stepped in as Pyles’ new representation and asked for more time to look over the charges. At such, a return date was set for July 16, 1:30 p.m., and then Pyles was remanded.

Pyles is charged with two felony counts of sexual assault in the third degree. The charges allege that between Sept. 1, 2010, and Oct. 31, 2010, he did engage in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with another person who was less than 16 years old and who was at least four years younger than the defendant and not married to the defendant.

In another matter, Denzil Ray Owens, 31, of 100 North Bridge Street, Lot 12, New Martinsville, appeared in court alongside his court-appointed defense attorney, Gardner. He filed a motion to suppress evidence and the court was advised that testimony would be taken at the next hearing. Gardner also advised the court that his client was still considering a plea agreement that had been presented to him by the prosecution. Owens’ return date was set for July 18, 1:30 p.m.

Owens was previously given a two-count indictment by the grand jury. These charges allege that Owens committed the felony offense of entry of a dwelling and petit larceny. The charges stem from the allegations that Owens intentionally entered the residence of Scott E. Davis and Renee Davis located at North Bridge Street, New Martinsville, and committed larceny of goods totaling less than $1,000.

Ralph D. Harter appeared in court alongside attorney Scott Brown, who advised the court that the defense and prosecution were still working on how to best resolve the case.

It was determined that Harter would be released on home confinement on a $10,000 justification of surety bond. Harter will still meet with his counselors and therapists. A return date has been set for July 18 at 1:30 p.m.

Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 27 Harter allegedly committed the offense of 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.

In another matter, Edward Warf, 20, of Route 1 Box 239 A, Middlebourne, appeared alongside attorney Gardner in a matter concerning a possible probation violation. It was stated that Warf has allegedly broken rules of probation by possessing alcohol and moving from his residence. A preliminary hearing was set for July 18, 1:30 p.m.

Originally, on Dec. 21, 2011, Warf pleaded guilty to one of his five-count indictment, that being felony entry of a building other than a dwelling. For this offense he was sentenced to the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for a period of one to 10 years with credit for 131 days served. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the state dismissed the remaining counts against him.

On Feb. 10, Warf had been released from prison and placed on probation after filing a Rule 35 sentence modification motion. At the time, Warf held no write-ups or other infractions since his sentencing, thus he was placed on probation for two years.

Warf had been charged with felony entry of a building other than a dwelling, felony grand larceny, misdemeanor destruction of property, felony entry of a building other than a dwelling, and misdemeanor petit larceny. The offenses were to have happened June 11-12 against St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and Days Gone By, both located in Paden City.

Larry Eugene Jones also appeared in court on Friday after he had been arrested for violation of home confinement. However, it was found that Jones was in need of counsel. Jones was reappointed his former counsel, Kevin Neiswonger, and a return date was then set for July 20, 10 a.m.

Jones, 47, of 125 South Main Street, New Martinsville, had previously pleaded guilty on May 25 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 wherein on or about Nov. 8, 2010, in Wetzel County Jones allegedly unlawfully, feloniously, and wantonly performed an act with a firearm which created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another. This charge was made following the testimony of Captain Michael J. Thomas of the New Martinsville Police Department before the grand jury on Jan. 17.

In addition to that incident, Jones had also been charged with wanton endangerment following a police standoff on May 29 at his home. Police had arrived to serve Jones papers for a court appearance when he pointed a .22 caliber weapon at the officers. Later, Jones turned the gun onto himself, shooting himself in the stomach. Fortunately, no officers were hurt.

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

In another matter, Benjamin Dale Francis, 32, of 1014 Third Street, New Martinsville, pleaded guilty to count one of his indictment, the offense of attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer for attempting to disarm Patrolman Don Larsen, acting in his official capacity as a Patrolman for the New Martinsville Police Department, by grabbing Patrolman Larsen’s weapon and attempting to pull it from its holster.

Francis was sentenced to one to five years at the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men, with credit for time served, 202 days. Although Francis admitted to having a problem with drugs, he denied drug counseling, saying that prior to his arrest, he had been on drugs for two months and that “They kinda ruined my life.” Francis also said that he would instead enjoy the high of hugging his children once he is out of prison. Special Prosecuting Attorney urged Francis to rethink this decision, and Judge Karl ended up making drug counseling a requirement of the plea agreement. Francis was sentenced and transferred to the Division of Corrections.

Because of car trouble, Larry Joe George informed his attorney, Gardner, that he was unable to make an appointment earlier Friday morning to discuss terms of a possible plea agreement. As such, the plea scheduled for Friday was set aside and instead, set for a date of July 20, 10 a.m.

George, 30, of P.O. Box 67, Reader, was 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 him with daytime burglary 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, and

Count three charges George with the misdemeanor offense of petit larceny for carrying away firearms having a cumulative value of less than $1,000 belonging to Goodrich.

In the case involving the State of West Virginia vs. Summer Sellers Riley, 29, of 187 North State Route 2, Villa Apartments, New Martinsville, Defense Attorney Kevin Neiswonger reported that plea negotiations had not been successful; a trial date was set for July 31, 9 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.

Gardner entered a motion to continue his client Larry Michael Anderson’s hearing, as due to Anderson’s financial situation, he could not get to court. Gardner also alerted the court to the fact that a mental hygiene petition had been filed against his client, Anderson, 49, of 712 East Main St., Wheeling, W.Va., who had travelled to North Carolina and was then admitted to an institution. A capias was then issued for Anderson’s arrest.

Anderson had received a three-count felony drug indictment. He is charged with one count attempted delivery of a controlled narcotic substance (oxycodone) and two counts of possession of a controlled narcotic substance (oxycodone) with intent to deliver. All offenses are to have occurred on April 14 in New Martinsville.

A capias was also issued for the arrest of Brandy Anne Cecil Rice, 25, of HC 61, Box 311, New Martinsville, who also failed to show up for her scheduled court appearance. Cecil Rice’s counsel, Gardner, alerted the court that he had not been in contact with Cecil since her last court appearance. Rice received a 13-count indictment including six charges of fraudulent schemes, four counts of forgery, and three counts of uttering.

Sean David Grimm, 25, of 349 Foundry St. New Martinsville, alongside his court appointed counsel Gardner, entered a plea of not guilty to his one-count indictment. On April 22 in Wetzel County, Grimm allegedly caused bodily injury to Jacob Patrick Fluharty by striking and choking him with his hands.

Zachery Jerico, 25, of 291 Locust St., New Martinsville, alongside his court appointed attorney, Fred Gardner, entered a not guilty plea to his three-count drug-related indictment. A return date was set for July 16, 1:30 p.m.

Counts one and three of Jerico’s sentence are for delivery of a controlled narcotic substance (oxycodone) and count two is for conspiracy. He allegedly conspired with Charles Zachary Wells and Shawn Stackpole to delivery oxycodone in Wetzel County on Jan. 19.

The second delivery charge is for an event alleged to have occurred on Dec. 13, 2011.

Wilson Scott Longwell, alongside his attorney Jeremiah Gardner, also entered a not guilty plea to his charges. Longwell, 20, of Rt. 1 Box 204, New Martinsville, had received a two-count indictment for conspiracy to commit first degree robbery and first degree robbery. The charges stem from an incident to have occurred on July 8, 2011, when he allegedly conspired with Justin Raymond Wyatt and Jonathan Jones to commit first degree robbery against Maverick Ray Stewart of New Martinsville. A return date for Longwell has been set for July 16, 1:30 p.m.

Charles Scott Moore, 27, of 187 North State Route 2, Apt. B203, New Martinsville, appeared alongside attorney Neiswonger, who was standing in for attorney David White. Moore entered a plea of innocence to his charges and a return date for him was set for July 16, 1:30 p.m.

Counts one through 10 allege that Moore unlawfully, intentionally, knowingly, and feloniously engaged in sexual intercourse with a female child who was less than 16 years old, was at least four years younger than the defendant, and was not married to the defendant. Moore is charged with five counts of sexual assault in the third degree and five counts of sexual abuse by a custodian.

Ronald A. Morgan III, 36, of HC 60, Box 82, Pine Grove, also entered a not guilty plea to his one count indictment of grand larceny. However, the court was advised by Defense Attorney Roger Weese that Morgan had already had the benefit of a plea offer and a request for an earlier return date was made. Thus, Morgan will return to court July 16, 1:30 p.m.

Morgan’s one count of grand larceny alleges that Morgan did commit simple larceny of goods or chattels of the value of $1,000 or more, belonging to Randy W. Lemasters, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the same.

In another matter, Johnna Watson pleaded guilty to one felony offense of nighttime burglary. At such, she was sentenced for one to five years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Women with credit for time served being at zero days.

However, the execution of this sentence was suspended, and instead, Watson was given two years of probation, with the first year to be served on home confinement.

On Feb. 24, Watson, 19, of P. O. Box 125, Littleton, had entered pleas of innocence to her three-count indictment of felony nighttime burglary and two misdemeanor counts of battery. The offenses are alleged to have occurred on Jan. 27, 2011, at the residence of Mary Elizabeth Leon-Miller in Littleton.

The battery charges allege that Watson made physical contact in an insulting or provoking nature with Leon-Miller and Michael R. Miller.