Judge Hummel Hears Cases in Circuit Court
The Honorable Judge David W. Hummel, Jr., heard several cases last week in Wetzel County Circuit Court.
James Ray Thompson, 36, of New Martinsville, appeared in court with his attorney, Brent Ferro, on Tuesday for the purpose of entering a plea agreement with the state.
Thompson had been given an 18 count indictment by the Wetzel County Grand Jury, charging him with sex-related crimes alleged to have occurred between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2003.
The charges included six counts of sexual assault in the first degree, six counts of incest and six counts of sexual assault by a custodian. The offenses were alleged to have occurred on multiple occasions with a minor between the ages of 5-10 years old.
On Tuesday, Thompson withdrew a previous not guilty plea and pleaded guilty, per a plea agreement, to one count of sexual assault, one count of incest, and one count of sexual assault by a custodian.
Judge Hummel informed the defendant of his right to a jury trial, and made sure he understood the charges against him, plus heard the evidence the state would present if the case were to go to trial. After hearing the evidence, Judge Hummel found the state had jurisdiction in the case. Hummel told the defendant he could decide to have a trial if he so desired.
Thompson said he was satisfied with his attorney and that he had made the decision to enter the plea agreement by his own free will. He explained to the court what he had done to make him guilty of the crimes he was charged with.
Judge Hummel asked Thompson what made him do what he did.
“I don’t know, ain’t gonna happen again,” he responded.
Hummel told Thompson that he is now a convicted felon, and because of the age of the victim, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Thompson was remanded back to the Northern Regional Jail where he will undergo HIV testing, and other testing, along with a a mental evaluation for alternate sentencing. He faces a maximum of 30-70 years in prison and is to return to court for sentencing on June 2, at 10 a.m.
It was noted the plea agreement was with consent of the victim’s family.
Abdirashid Ahmed, 23, of Dublin, Ohio, was present in court on Tuesday, with Attorney Ferro, for a sentencing hearing.
Ahmed had previously pleaded to obtaining a controlled substance by forgery.
Ahmed was handed down a four count indictment by the January 2017 Grand Jury, charging him with attempt to acquire a controlled substance by forgery, conspiracy, fleeing from an officer, and obstructing an officer.
Judge Hummel asked the prosecution if they had received and reviewed the pre-sentencing report. Wetzel County Prosecutor Tim Haught answered he had. He stated he had found it to be accurate -“in fact very accurate.”
Defense Attorney Ferro stated it was accurate except for one correction; he said the defendant should have credit for time served of 13 days instead of two.
Judge Hummel gave Ahmed an opportunity to address the court prior to sentencing. Ahmed apologized to the court for committing the crimes. He said he is on probation in two other areas, has no probation violations, and feels he should receive probation. He admitted to having a history of crimes but he believes he can get a job and has plans to get married.
Ahmed’s mother spoke on his behalf, saying the family didn’t know he had these problems; she asked for leniency. Ahmend’s sister also asked the court for probation; she said he is the oldest of five, and she feels Ahmed can get a job with her father. Ferro also spoke for the defendant and asked the court for probation. The state remained silent per terms of the plea agreement.
Judge Hummel told the defendant that he (Ahmed) had, in fact, lied to the probation officers about his crime history. Hummel told Ahmed he had cost his probation officers a lot of hours of work, and Hummel said he had received a phone call from the probation office and the first thing they told him was “Con Man.” Hummel said you are a “Con Man,” but you are in West Virginia now, not Ohio.
Hummel told the defendant he has an extensive criminal history that is shocking; he then ruled out probation and sentenced Ahmed to one to three years in the custody of the West Virginia Department of Corrections. He was immediately remanded.
Jeffery D. Davis, 28 of New Martinsville, appeared in court for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday after previously pleading guilty to unlawful assault.
Davis was originally indicted by the January 2017 Grand Jury, and was charged with malicious wounding after allegedly punching and kicking another individual.
On Tuesday, prior to sentencing, Davis said he did punch another individual and kick them. Of the victim, Davis said he “roughed her up.”
Davis said he had no excuse for committing the offense, saying “I was under the influence.”
Davis’ attorney, Ferro, said his client did not dispute the crime, has been honest, admits to the use of illegal substances, and “needs and wants help.”
Assistant Prosecutor Justin Craft presented to the court the evidence the state has against the defendant. He said in July 2016 Davis physically assaulted the victim, broke her nose, and caused pain in her left eye. Craft said the victim’s face was badly swollen.
Judge Hummel asked Craft where his compassion was for a 6′ 3″ 230 pound man that beat the female victim, who is under 5 feet tall.
Davis said he wouldn’t call it beating. Hummel asked Davis what he would call it, and Davis responded, “I roughed her up.”
It was mentioned that Davis had beat the victim a second time, in December, while Davis was on supervised probation.
Davis disputed the second instance and again asked for help.
Judge Hummel called Davis a menace to himself and society. Hummel brought up Davis’ drug history which included regular use of marijuana since age 13, taking Percocet 30 since age 20, subutex since age 22, and an everyday meth user since age 14.
Hummel told Davis that Mental Health Court is no longer available. He said Davis had been diagnosed with eight different disorders for rehabilitation, but “unfortunately you will come out of prison the same way you go in.”
Davis was sentenced by Judge Hummel to one to five years in prison with credit for time served.
Cory Michael Klug, 19 of 343 Locust Street, New Martinsville, was present in court on Tuesday, on a petition to revoke supervised probation. Klug had pleaded guilty to DUI while on supervised probation. His attorney, David White, told the court that he was having discussions with Prosecutor Tim Haught and would like a short continuance. The request was granted and the case was continued until Friday, May 12, at noon.
Jacob Ray Young, 21 of New Martinsville, was originally charged with a felony offense of grand larceny in 2014 and pleaded guilty to the charge. He was sentenced to one to five years in prison, but the sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation and ordered to attend drug court. Young violated his probation, was placed back in jail and later released back on probation.
On Tuesday Young was in court to have his case reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor; however, it was noted that he he tested positive for meth and Xanax, and he and also admitted to Xanex and marijuana use. His case was passed to Judge Cramer who originally handled the case.
Ryan Schostag, appeared in court Tuesday on a petition to revoke his probation. Schotag admitted to lying to his probation officers. Judge Hummel told Schostag he could serve time at a long term rehabilitaton center at his own expense, if he could secure it. That was acceptable to the defendant. He was ordered to serve one to five years in the West Virginia Department of Corrections.
Also, on Wednesday, May 3, Robert Leu Kernan, of New Martinsville, was sentenced, by Judge Jeffrey Cramer, to the maximum of one to five years in prison for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.