Ziegler Receives 2-10 For Sexual Offenses
On Friday, Nov. 6, Michael Allen Ziegler, 35, of Post Office Box 235, 269 North State Route 2 15W, New Martinsville, entered into an Alford plea for two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree. Ziegler was originally handed down two separate indictments from the January 2015 Grand Jury.
Each indictment, which represented a separate victim, charged him with sexual assault in the second degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, and use of minor to do sexually explicit con- duct. On Friday, Ziegler entered into an Alford plea for both of the charges of sexual abuse in the first degree.
Ziegler’s attorney, Kevin Neiswonger, confirmed to Judge David W. Hummel that he had went over, with his client, the requirements to register as a sex offender. Furthermore, Neiswonger had confirmed that his client understood that he was required to register as a sex offender for life.
Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught noted that Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Carl “Worthy” Paul has represented the state in each of the cases. Haught said Paul had spoken to the family members of both juvenile victims in the case. The families had agreed to the plea agreement.
Haught said there was no question that the offenses occurred in Wetzel County, in New Martinsville. Haught said the state would have hopefully offered testimony from two juveniles who would have stated that Ziegler had sexual contact with them without their consent. Furthermore, the state would have offered DNA tests which would have indicated that Ziegler’s DNA came into contact with the clothing of one of the victims.
Ziegler answered in the affirmative that the state had sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction in regards to those counts.
Haught said that that weighing the impact testifying could have on the child victims, the state, along with the families, felt the plea agreement was the in the best interest of the State of West Virginia in obtaining a conviction.
“We thought it was in the best inter-est of these particular juveniles in that they will not have to testify before Mr. Ziegler, which was very traumatic to them, the thought of having to do that,” Haught stated.
Hummel reiterated that Zeigler’s two 1-5 sentences would be carried out consecutively, followed by 10 years of post-release supervision, which would be carried out by the Wetzel County Probation Office.”