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Judge Hummel Sentences Gavula, Henderson

By Staff | Jul 29, 2015

Kayla Rose Gavula, 31, of 28 Rose St., Lot 32 North, New Martinsville, and Christopher James Henderson, 31, of RR 1 Box 358, New Martinsville, were both sentenced to incarceration Monday, July 20 in Wetzel County Circuit Court by Judge David W. Hummel.

Gavula was sentenced to one to five years in the penitentiary, while Henderson will serve two to 10 years for his offenses.

The duo had each pleaded guilty Friday, July 10 to drug-related offenses. Gavula pleaded guilty to conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, while co-defendant Henderson pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory.

Henderson and Gavula were each handed down two indictments by the grand jury. A two-count indictment charged each with conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory and possession of precursors to manufacture methamphetamines.

A second two-count indictment charged each with conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory and operation of a clandestine drug laboratory. These offenses allegedly occurred on or about Oct. 12, 2014 and resulted in an explosion at a residence in New Martinsville.

In a letter read by Gavula’s attorney, Brett Ferro, Gavula stated she was asking for suspension of sentence. Gavula explained she was not a menace.

She further stated she was not aware at the time the offenses occurred, of everything going on in her household.

Gavula said she had lost her home and children and had hurt her family. She said she wanted to go back to college and find a job, adding “my kids are my life.”

Ferro, on behalf of his client, said Gavula had expressed remorse and was wanting the opportunity for alternative sentencing.

As to Henderson, Judge Hummel inquired as to whether the defendant was the one “that caught fire.”

Henderson responded in the affirmative. Hummel then expressed disbelief that Henderson committed the same crime again, after being burned on 60 percent of his body.

“Would 70 percent have done it?” Hummel asked. “The lightbulb didn’t go off the first time? You endangered society and the public. Bad things could’ve happened,” Hummel said.

“Bad things did happen, your honor,” Henderson replied.

“If there was a picture of a drug addict in a dictionary, it would’ve been Mr. Henderson,” Brent Clyburn, Henderson’s attorney, stated.

“I have spent a lot of time with (Henderson). I told him something got broken upstairs. You see he has burns on his arms. He has that reminder.”

Clyburn said he knew probation isn’t in the stars for his client. “He’s tried outpatient treatment, but I don’t think it was intensive or long enough for him.”

Clyburn requested the court consider two options; one option would be for Henderson to be sentenced to the state’s recommending two to 10 year sentence but then consider a motion for a reduction of sentence after a certain period of time. Henderson would then report to an alternative court program.

The second option would be for the one to five year sentences (one to five for each conspiracy charge) to run concurrently.

Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught explained that both crimes occurred in Gavula’s trailer.

“Was it a one or two story trailer?” Hummel inquired, adding that he could not understand how Gavula did not know the crime was occurring, as she maintains.

“Ms. Gavula has a greater involvement than what she lets on,” Hummel stated.

It was determined Gavula was not eligible for the drug court program.

“Every time I find myself with no option than to send someone to prison, I feel like a failure,” Judge Hummel noted, but added there was only so much a person could do to help someone.

“This dude is hardcore,” he stated of Henderson and his addiction to meth. “He’s sitting here twitching. I don’t know if he can be turned back in time. I feel like it is a personal failure. Anyone can send someone to prison. It’s helping them that’s difficult,” he said, adding that while sitting in his office Sunday, perusing the pre-sentencing reports, he felt a “sense of frustration.”

Gavula was sentenced to one to five years in prison for manufacturing of meth. Hummel said he wanted to send the general message that those who cook, provide materials or “provide the facility” for making meth, “will go to prison.”

As to Henderson, Hummel noted that he did not think “the guy can avoid drugs.”

He sentenced Henderson to one to five years for each of the two conspiracy charges, ordering the sentences to run consecutively.