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Leek’s Case May Go To Trial

By Staff | Apr 8, 2015

A trial date of April 20 has been set for the criminal case involving Christopher Leek, 28, of 33 Ross Street, New Martinsville. Leek was charged by the January 2015 grand jury with conspiracy to possess a controlled substance (synthetic cannabinoid) with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance (synthetic cannabinoid) with intent to deliver, conspiracy to possess a controlled substance (bath salts) with intent to deliver, and possession of a controlled substance (bath salts) with intent to deliver. These offenses all allegedly occurred on or about April 4, 2014.

On April 3, Defense Attorney Brett Ferro stated that Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught had filed a motion for a voluntariness hearing. “I have a motion to suppress,” Ferro stated.

“He’s still considering the state’s plea offer, I think,” Ferro noted of his client.

The Honorable Judge Mark A. Karl had rejected a plea from Leek on March 10, due to Leek not completing the answers on his plea information sheet. Specifically, Karl mentioned that Leek had answered “No,” to the question asking if the plea was in his best interest.

At the April 3 hearing, Haught noted that if counsel goes through a motion to suppress, “We are not having a plea.”

“I’ve given him time, plenty of time to consider,” Haught stated. “Let’s enter the plea.”

“I don’t know when you plan to set that motion to suppress,” Haught noted, “but if we walk into the court on a motion to suppress, there will be no plea.”

Judge David W. Hummel set the trial date for April 20, with the court to take up the motion to suppress and motion for voluntariness on April 17.

In another matter, a plea of innocence was entered by Nikolas Brady Matthews, 31, of Paden City, in regard to his charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled narcotic substance.

Brett Ferro of the Public Defender Corporation was appointed to Matthews’ case, and Judge Hummel set a return date of May 27, 9 a.m.

As for the issue of bond, Prosecuting Attorney Haught recommended a $5,000 cash bond or a $50,000 justification of surety bond. Haught noted that Matthews had not appeared in court when he was first indicted by the September 2014 grand jury. A capias was issued for him “and subsequently, he turned himself in,” Haught noted. However, he added that the sheriff’s office had made several attempts to locate him at various residences. “He has a felony charge out of Washington County, Ohio, which I had contacted the prosecutor over there,” Haught noted. “It involves drugs as well.”

Ferro requested a $10,000 surety bond.

“Forty-thousand surety it is,” Hummel noted, adding that if Matthews makes bond, he will go on home incarceration.

In another matter, pleas of innocence were entered on behalf of Joseph Kipling Norris, 30, of 362 Madison Road, New Martinsville.

Norris was handed down one indictment by the January 2015 grand jury, charging him with two counts of sexual assault in the first degree. The court also granted Norris’ motion to waive his speedy trial rights. Therefore, the matter will be returnable May 27, 9 a.m. At this time, a trial date will be set.

In another matter, Hanna Dale Francis, 49, of 522 1/2 43rd Street, Bellaire, Ohio, will return to court April 17, 9 a.m., to enter into a plea agreement.

Francis was originally charged by the September 2014 grand jury with possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver.

Bradley Phillip Smith, 31, of 616 Foundry Street, New Martinsville, also appeared in court alongside newly appointed attorney Brent Clyburn. Clyburn noted he was meeting with Smith for the first time that day. “In an effort to get up to speed, and with the end of the term being so close, I’m inclined to make a motion to continue this matter until the next term,” Clyburn noted, adding that he requested the matter be returned May 27, 9 a.m.

Haught said that David White, Smith’s previous attorney, had withdrawn as Smith’s counsel and had noted in his motion to withdraw that the defendant had not shown up to several appointments White had made with him. “That bothers me,” Haught noted. “This defendant has basically delayed this matter because he failed to keep his appointments with Mr. White. I’m requesting that court revoke his bond and put him in jail.”

Judge Hummel read a portion of the motion by White, who had stated that “there has been a complete breakdown of communication with the defendant.”

Hummel asked Smith what the issue had been. Smith stated that in one instance, he had shown up to meet with White on the wrong day. Smith further stated that another time White had to meet with another client and wanted to reschedule.

“I’ll withdraw my motion,” Haught noted.

“Mr. Clyburn, you are ordered to advise the court if Mr. Smith fails to make any appointments or is late to any appointments,” Hummel noted. “If he does fail, the bond is withdrawn without further order. If Mr. Clyburn fails to tell me if his client didn’t show up, he will be remanded to the regional jail.”

Smith was indicted by the January 2015 grand jury for malicious assault and unlawful restraint.

In another matter, Tasha Cain Palmer, 32, of 341 Virginia Street, New Martinsville, pleaded guilty to one information count of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, cocaine.

Palmer was sentenced to six months in jail, with credit for 13 days serves. This sentence was suspended, however, and Palmer will continue in the drug court program, which she has already begun. She will also be placed on two years of probation.

Palmer admitted that she possessed the heroin, selling it for a friend.

Prosecutor Haught noted that Palmer had given a full and complete confession and was completely cooperative with the New Martinsville Police Department regarding her crime.

Palmer stated she had been clean for three weeks so far.