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Man Pleads Guilty For Damages

By Staff | Sep 9, 2015

One of the individuals arrested for vandalizing Magnolia High School on June 4 pleaded guilty to his charges Monday, Aug. 31 in Wetzel County Circuit Court.

Eric Daugherty, 19, pleaded guilty to an information count each of felony entry of a building other than a dwelling and felony destruction of property.

He was sentenced to one to 10 years on each of the counts, the prison sentences to run concurrently. Daugherty’s sentence was suspended and he will be placed on 48 months of supervised probation. He is also to complete an alternative treatment program.

Judge David Hummel, at first, was unsure as to whether or not he was going to bestow the state and defense’s recommended sentence on Daugherty.

“I respect the discretion of the prosecuting attorney as he works to protect the community, and I respect what Attorney Brent Clyburn (Daugherty’s counsel) has done, but sometimes great minds can disagree,” Hummel explained.

“A person can somewhat understand someone stealing something, such as food, as children are hungry. It doesn’t make it right but understandable in some respects sometimes, but simple destruction of anything for pure enjoyment, whether you are under the influence or otherwise is intolerable. The fact you went in and destroyed, I understand substantial property . . . I’m teetering on not accepting your plea and sentencing you to prison. I’m having a real struggle, because you committed a senseless act. You hurt the educational experience. You hurt students and staff, administration, and the superintendent. The consequences go further than some broken computers, and frankly, I’m not real inclined to accept your plea, other than to send you to prison.”

Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught stated that a restitution hearing would have to be held at a later date. He said he had received a letter from the school’s insurance company but had further requested an itemized listing of the damages. He added that Daugherty was the oldest of the four involved and had been incarcerated since the crime was committed.

“He has been cooperative and gave a complete confession to the police,” Haught added.

Haught said an assessment had revealed that Daugherty needed treatment for addiction and other issues.

Hummel advised Daugherty to “count your lucky stars,” as he was going to accept the plea agreement. Daugherty was sentenced to one to 10 years for each crime, the sentences to run concurrently. The sentences was suspended and he was placed on probation, beginning with GPS home confinement.