Judge Cramer Hears Matters In Court
Judge Jeffrey Cramer proceeded over the following matters Wednesday, Jan. 31 in Wetzel County Circuit Court:
Ashley Brooke Willhoite, 37, of 133 South First Avenue, Paden City, appeared before Judge Cramer to answer to a three-count indictment handed down by the Wetzel County Grand Jury. Willhoite is charged in the indictment with the felony offense of daytime burglary. She is accused of entering without breaking a dwelling house with intent to commit a crime. The offense is alleged to have occurred between July 24 and July 31, 2017, in New Martinsville, Wetzel County.
Count two of the indictment charges her with the felony offense of grand larceny, by allegedly taking or stealing goods valued at $1,000.
Count three of the indictment charges her with the felony offense of conspiracy. She allegedly conspired with Jason Litton to steal goods on the dates mentioned above.
Willhoite pleaded not guilty on Jan. 31, and a pre-trial hearing was set for March 12, 10 a.m. A trial date was also set for April 9. Willhoite’s bond was allowed to continue under supervision by the probation office.
Zachary Jeremiah Ferrebee, 28, also of 133 South First Avenue, Paden City, appeared in court alongside his court-appointed attorney, Brett Ferro. Ferrebee faced one-count felony indictment, charging him with breaking and entering. The offense allegedly occurred on or about Oct. 26 or 27, 2017, in Paden City.
On Jan. 31, Ferrebee admitted to the crime, saying he threw a rock through the window of Quality Aluminum in Paden City and went inside to get a cash box. He left after not finding the cash box. Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught gave the same evidence.
Ferrebee, under a plea agreement, pleaded guilty to the crime. The agreement calls for him to be sentenced to one to 10 years in the custody of the West Virginia Division of Corrections, with credit for time served. Judge Cramer ordered a pre-sentencing report be done by the probation office. He will then set a sentence hearing.
Stephen Anthony Blatt, 31, of 606 North Fifth Avenue, Paden City, appeared in court to answer to a one-count felony indictment. The indictment charges Blatt with the felony offense of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), with intent to deliver. The offense allegedly occurred on or about Nov. 6, 2017.
On Jan. 31, Blatt entered a plea of guilty to the charge under the terms of a plea agreement. He was sentenced to one to 15 years in the custody of the West Virgina Division of Corrections with credit for time served of three months. Under the agreement, Blatt will be eligible for a rule 35 early release after five months served, including the three months already served. He will then be placed on two years probation and must attend drug court, which has already been approved.
Blatt told the court he was in possession of methamphetamine and had intentions of selling it. Prosecutor Tim Haught told the court if the case were to go to trial, the evidence would show Blatt was stopped by a Paden City policeman for suspicion of riding a stolen bicycle. The officer found Blatt to be in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine, which Blatt admitted he planned to sell.
Judge Cramer imposed the recommended sentence and remanded Blatt to the custody of the department of corrections to begin serving the remainder of his sentence.
Benjamin Ray Highley, 47, of HC 60 Box 47B, Glen Easton, appeared in court alongside his attorney, Ferro, to answer to a two-count indictment, charging him with the felony offenses of “possession of a motor vehicle without vehicle identification mark,” and “altering a vehicle identification number with fraudulent intent.” The charges against Highley state that he knowingly possessed a motor vehicle with altered manufacturer serial number. The offense is alleged to have occurred between March 11 and April 22 of 2017.
Highley entered a not guilty plea two both counts and was ordered to return to court on March 12, at 10 a.m. for a pre-trial hearing. A trial date will then be set.
Ryan Nicklaus Richmond, 24, of 639 Wise Acres Road, New Martinsville, was in court on Wednesday, Jan. 31, to enter a plea to a one-count felony indictment, charging him with possession of a controlled substance (heroin) with intent to deliver. The offense allegedly occurred on or about Dec. 5, 2017, in Wetzel County.
Richmond entered a guilty plea as part of a plea agreement to the charge. The plea agreement called for Richmond to be sentenced to one to 15 years in prison. In exchange for his guilty plea, Richmond will be allowed to return to court after serving five months for a rule 35 early release hearing. He will then be accepted into drug court, which has been approved. He will be given credit for time served of 58 days.
Prosecutor Tim Haught said Richmond has a serious drug problem. He said the police had responded to Richmond’s residence and he fled. They apprehended him and recovered 171 stamps of heroin and 0.4 grams of methamphetamine. They also found $313, which under the agreement, Richmond will forfeit. His cell phone will be returned to him.
Judge Cramer allowed the plea agreement and imposed the one to 15 year sentence.
Daniel Lee Wilson, 32, of Route 1 Box 71, Mannington, was charged by the January 2018 term of the Wetzel County Grand Jury with the felony offense of grand larceny. Wilson appeared in court, alongside Attorney Ferro, to give an answer to the charge. Wilson, who has been in the Northern Regional Jail, entered a not guilty plea. He will return to court March 12, 10 a.m., and a trial date will be set at that time.
Prosecutor Haught requested bond be set at $5,000 cash/surety, and that if Wilson makes bond, he will be placed on pre-trial supervision by the county’s probation office. Judge Cramer agreed to the request.
Wilson was remanded, pending bail release.
James A. Haught, 23, of 717 Sixth Street, New Martinsville, had previously been given a three-count indictment, with the felony offenses of “failure to register or provide notice of registration changes.” All three counts charge him with the crimes between July 31 and Nov. 27, 2017. On Jan. 31, James Haught was sentenced by Judge Cramer to five years in prison.
Per the terms of a plea agreement, Haught pleaded guilty to four charges of violating his probation, in exchange for his three-count indictment to be dismissed, with prejudice. During the hearing, Prosecutor Tim Haught recommended a prison sentence of five years, while the defense asked for leniency. James Haught’s mother spoke on her son’s behalf and asked that the court be lenient with James Haught. James Haught, himself, said he was sorry for what he had done, including lying to the probation office and violating the office’s trust in him.
Judge Cramer, however, imposed the recommended sentence of the state, due to the seriousness of the crimes.