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Judge Denies Plea Withdrawal

By Staff | Aug 1, 2012

During Thursday afternoon’s circuit court session, H. John Roger’s request to withdraw his no contest guilty plea that he entered in magistrate court was denied by Judge Mark Karl.

Rogers, 72, of 317 Foundry St. New Martinsville, claimed he had not been adequately counseled, in which Karl replied that Rogers, himself, is an educated attorney, specifically a Harvard educated attorney.

Karl denied Rogers’ request to withdraw his plea and reaffirmed the special magistrate court’s sentence.

Rogers said he would appeal this decision and requested a 60-day stay; Judge Karl stated that a 60-day stay was generous, but he granted it.

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.”

Also on Friday, prosecution filed a petition for an involuntary commitment for Ralph Duane Harter, 63, of Route 1, Box 166A, Middlebourne. Harter’s Wetzel County charges were dismissed without prejudice last week in Wetzel County Circuit Court and on Tuesday he he was released on home confinement for charges in Tyler County.

During a previous psychological evaluation, it was found that Harter suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which traces back to his service in the Vietnam War. It was determined that Harter has a long history of mental illness, hallucinations, and manic episodes of psychosis, as well as post traumatic stress disorder. It was found that Harter was competent to stand trial, but he was not criminally responsible for his actions during the incidents that occurred between Nov. 1 and Nov. 27 in Wetzel County. These findings were provided by the Charleston Psychiatric Group, specifically Doctors Ralph and Rosemary Smith. These psychiatrists were decided upon by both the defense and the prosecution in the case.

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 charged 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 stated 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, Zachary I. Farley, 19, of 555 Kappel Street, New Martinsville, pleaded guilty to his one count conspiracy to deliver heroin. Farley was sentenced to one to 10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men. However, per the terms of the plea agreement, the execution of the sentence was suspended and Farley will instead serve two years of probation, one of those being home confinement, with work release.

Farley confessed to conspiring with Tori D. Hinkle, Elson L. Hinkle, and Erin M. Greathouse to deliver heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance, on or about March 3 in New Martinsville.

In the case involving Charles Young, 51, and Mary Evelyn Young, 50, both of Route 1, Box 31A, New Martinsville, it was determined that the state needs more time to review the material. Also, dependent on the state’s conclusions from their review of the material, an expert may be needed to analyze handwriting. Thus, Karl set a return date for Aug. 24, 10 a.m.

On Feb. 10 both Charles and Mary Young entered pleas of innocence to their charges.

Both are charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person and forgery for offenses against Burton Young between Oct. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2010, in Wetzel County. Charles Michael Young holds a two-count indictment while Mary Evelyn Young holds a three-count indictment.

Counts one and two in their respective indictments allege they intentionally and feloniously misappropriated the assets of Burton Young, who is over the age of 65, by permitting the recording of a Quitclaim Deed, now of record in the Office of the Clerk of the County Commission of Wetzel County, in Deed Book 424, at page 103, transferring the real property of Burton Young to their names, without the knowledge or consent of Burton Young.

Count two charges them with feloniously forging the attestation of a notary public to the same Quitclaim Deed, knowing such attestation would be received as legal proof.

Additionally, Mary Evelyn Young’s third count in her indictment states that on or about Dec. 13, 2010, in Wetzel County, she committed the offense of uttering wherein she feloniously employed as true the above named Quitclaim Deed, when she knew the attestation of the notary public thereon was forged.

Finally, Ronald A. Morgan III, 36, of HC 60, Box 92, Pine Grove, was arraigned in court Thursday, alongside his attorney Roger Weese. Morgan entered a plea of not guilty and a request for discovery was made on behalf of the defense. A return date has been set for Aug. 24, 10 a.m.

Morgan’s one count indictment of grand larceny alleges that he 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.