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Calhoun Pleads Guilty To Incest

By Staff | Sep 3, 2014

John Otto Calhoun, 74, of 231 Montwell Drive, Mingo Junction, Ohio, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning in Marshall County Circuit Court to one count of incest. The proceeding, belonging to the Wetzel Circuit Court, was held in Marshall County, for scheduling reasons.

Calhoun was originally handed down two indictments by the May 2014 grand jury. The first indictment, containing six counts, charged him with two sets of sexual assault in the second degree, incest, and sexual abuse by a custodian. These offenses allegedly occurred between March 20, 1999, and March 14, 2000, to a child.

The separate indictment contains a charge of sexual assault in the first degree, incest, sexual abuse in the first degree, and two charges of sexual abuse by a custodian. These offenses allegedly occurred between Dec. 6, 2000, and Dec. 5, 2007.

Special Prosecuting Attorney Carl “Worthy” Paul reported to the court that the state’s evidence would show that the victim was 13 years old at the time the incest occurred. Paul stated that Calhoun was married to the victim’s mother; thus, the charge of sexual abuse by a custodian. Furthermore, Paul stated that each count was sexual assault. Paul also referenced a voluntary statement Calhoun had given in which he acknowledged multiple accounts. “He says it was after the victim was 18. We stand by the fact the victim was 13.”

The Honorable Judge David W. Hummel reiterated that the statement Calhoun had made to law enforcement was determined to be given voluntarily and was admissible, though the defense could have perhaps argued otherwise in court.

When asked what made him feel he was guilty of the offense of incest, Calhoun stated that he did have sexual relationships with the victim. When asked how old the victim was at the time, Calhoun quipped, “Eighteen years and one day.” He stated the relations occurred at his camper.

Calhoun pleaded guilty to the offense; however, a pre-sentencing report is to be filed by Wetzel County’s Chief Probation Officer John Lantz. The state recommends that Calhoun be sentenced to five to 15 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men. Calhoun will return to court, at the Wetzel County Courthouse, for a pre-sentencing hearing Oct. 3, 9 a.m.

In another matter, the trial in the case involving Lawrence Donald Barnette, Jr., 46, of the Northern Regional Jail, has been moved to Nov. 17 because of the inability to obtain all necessary records for evidence in time.

Judge Hummel reported that the court was of the reason and opinion that the delay he had in reviewing the records wasn’t in “a result of omission by the prosecuting attorney.” Hummel stated that some of the records had been archived and it had taken some time to manually retrieve those. Defense Attorney Brent Clyburn agreed, stating that he had been in contact with Paul who had indicated his efforts to retrieve the records.

Barnette waived his right to a speedy trial and it was determined his trial would be first up on November. Judge Hummel stated he would review the records that had been presented to him by the state that day and would consider if any would be necessary for the defense.

Barnette received a six-count indictment from the May 2014 grand jury charging him with three counts of first-degree sexual assault and three counts of sexual abuse by a custodian. These offenses allegedly occurred between January 1, 2000, and February 13, 2002, when the victim was 11 years old or younger.