Cases Heard In Circuit Court
Judge Jeffery Cramer recently proceeded over the following cases in Wetzel County Circuit Court:
Justin Alan Richeson, 34, of Rt. 20 P.O. Box 19, Reader, had been charged by the January term of the Wetzel County grand jury with the felony offense of Nighttime Burglary. He pleaded guilty to the crime on March 19, before the Honorable Judge Jeffery D. Cramer.
Richeson entered the plea as part of a plea agreement with the state where he would plead by way of an Alford-Kennedy plea, which allows him to plead guilty without admitting to the crime. Richeson would have been facing up to life in prison if found guilty by trial due to his involvement and conviction in other breaking and enterings and felony offenses.
According to Prosecutor Tim Haught, Richeson was caught in a home back in 2006 and as a result, suffered a severe head injury when the owner hit him with a crow bar. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to a lesser included offense of attempted burglary, which has a potential sentence of one to three years in prison.
Richeson told the court he has depression from the head trauma; he also takes anti-seizure medication.
Judge Cramer ordered a pre-sentence investigation report to be done by the probation office, and he will set a date for sentencing after he receives the report.
Kevin Joseph Hubbard, 27, of RR1 Box 43C, Reader, recently pleaded guilty to a lesser included offense of unlawful assault, count one of a three-count felony indictment.
The remaining two counts of the indictment against him were dismissed as part of the plea. He faces a potential one to five years in prison. Judge Cramer ordered a pre-sentencing investigation be completed by the probation office. Upon receiving the report he will set a sentencing date. Hubbard’s bond will continue post-conviction.
Zachary Jeremiah Ferrebee, 28, of Paden City was recently sentenced to not less than one nor more than 10 years in prison for the offense of Breaking and Entering. A decretal judgment was also awarded to the victim for damages. The case was investigated by Patrolman Raphe Bailes of the Paden City Police Department.
Ferrebee had pleaded guilty to the offense on Jan. 31, through a plea agreement reached between the state and the defendant.
Dustine Michael Moore, 24, of 6 Witscheys Addition Street, New Martinsville, appeared in court recently for a pre-trial hearing. Judge Cramer was informed there had been a plea agreement in the case, and Moore would plead guilty to conspiracy to deliver Methamphetamine, count three of his indictment.
Moore pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to one to five years in prison. He was given credit for 281 days of time served and was remanded to jail to serve the remainder of his sentence. He agreed to forfeit property and cash to the New Martinsville Police Department, and to pay the cost of his prosecution.
Steven Anthony Blatt II, 31, of 606 North Fifth Avenue, Paden City, appeared in court alongside his attorney for a Rule 35 motion for early release.
Blatt had been convicted for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Prosecutor Tim Haught told the court that Blatt would be eligible for early release on April 5 since he has been incarcerated since November 5, 2017, which would be the five month requirement.
Judge Cramer ruled he would grant the motion for early release effective at 8 a.m. April 5, providing there are no write-ups between now and then. Blatt will also be placed on two years supervised probation and have to go through drug court.
Jason Anthony Litton, 38, of 133 South 1st Ave., Paden City, recently pleaded guilty to two counts of third-offense shoplifting.
Litton was previously handed two indictments by the grand jury; each indictment charged him with two counts of third-offense shoplifting and one count of conspiracy. Per the terms of the plea agreement, the third count of conspiracy was dismissed from one indictment, along with the three counts of the other indictment.
When asked what he had done to make him guilty, Littleton said he went into Wal-Mart and took items off the shelves, returning them for money. Litton has previous convictions in Wetzel County Magistrate Court and Moundsville Municipal Court.
Per the terms of the plea agreement, Litton faces a potential one to 10 year prison sentence for each count of third-offense shoplifting.
A pre-sentence report was ordered to be done by the probation office. Litton was remanded to jail.
Thomas James Hull, 26, of 32 Ross Street, New Martinsville, appeared in court before Judge Cramer for a pre-trial/voluntariness hearing. Due to the absence of a state witness the case was continued until March 30 at 9 a.m. His bond was allowed to continue.
He is charged in a three-count felony drug case by the January Grand Jury.
Michael Lee Erb, 32, of 911 Pioneer Community Road, St. Marys is charged with the felony offense of Receiving Stolen Goods; he recently appeared in court alongside his attorney for a pre-trial hearing. His case was continued until March 30, and a trial date was set for April 25. Erb is out on bond and his bond was allowed to continue; he was told to see the probation officer who he had failed to see since he was placed on bond.
Lee Ann Higginbotham, 37, of Morgan Run Road, Smithfield, was previously charged by the Wetzel County Grand Jury with a four count felony indictment of forgery, uttering and two conspiracy counts. She was scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial/plea hearing, but Judge Cramer continued the case until March 30, as there is a possible plea agreement resolution. Higginbotham’s bond was allowed to continue.
Daniel Lee Wilson, Route 1, Box 71, Mannington, appeared in court recently for a pre-trial hearing before Judge Cramer. Wilson is charged by the Wetzel County Grand Jury with grand larceny. Judge Cramer set April 19 as a trial date.
Kelly Lee Tustin, 44, of P.O. Box 402, Hundred, appeared in court recently for a pre-trial hearing. She is charged with the felony offenses of Grand Larceny and Conspiracy. Attorney Patricia Kurelac made a motion that Tustin be released from supervised probation and put on non-supervised probation because her job is time consuming and requires her to travel. The prosecution and probation officer both objected and Judge Cramer denied the motion. Tustin was ordered to return to court on March 30 for further proceedings in the case.
Lindsay Nicole Burley, 25, of P.O. Box 301, Hundred, represented by attorney Shane Mallett, appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing. Burley is charged by the Wetzel County Grand Jury with two felony offenses – Grand Larceny and Conspiracy, both alleged to have occurred between July 24 and July 31, 2017.
Burley is free on bond and was ordered to return to court on March 30. If no plea agreement as been reached by that time, Burley’s case will proceed to trial.
Ashley Willhoite, 37, of 133 South First Ave, Paden City, was previously charged with daytime burglary, grand larceny, and conspiracy. She was ordered to return to court on March 30 and remanded to jail. A trial date of April 9 was also set.
Alexander Cleveland King, 32, of 148 South Main Street, New Martinsville, appeared in court for a plea agreement to the felony charge of uttering.
He pleaded guilty to passing a counterfeit $100 bill at Speedway in New Martinsville. The plea agreement calls for a two to 10 year sentence, suspended; King would be placed on two years supervised probation. Judge Cramer ordered a pre-sentencing report to be done, and King will return at a time set by Judge Cramer. His bond was allowed to continue.
Robert Jack Six, 33, of HC 62 Box MM, Burton, was in court to face two separate indictments with the felony offenses of Daytime Burglary, Conspiracy, and third offense DUI. Six will return to court on March 30 for further proceedings.
Crystal Lynn Aston, 36, of 664 Maple Avenue, New Martinsville, will return to court March 30, 9 a.m. She faces a one-count indictment, charging her with Malicious Assault. Ashton’s attorney, Brett Ferro, informed the court that an agreement had been reached in the case. Aston, who is on pre-trial supervision, was allowed to have her bond continued, and Judge Cramer ordered her to be drug tested by the probation office.
Gregory Dalton Morgan, 23, of 404 Virginia Street, New Martinsville, will return to court on March 30. Dalton has been charged with one felony account of grand larceny and two misdemeanor counts of breaking and entering an automobile, and destruction of property. All offenses allegedly occurred April 27, 2017.
Judge Cramer was informed that a plea agreement had been reached in the case. Attorney Ferro asked the court to allow his client to commute between states, as Morgan is working 80 hours a week in the oil and gas fields.
Judge Cramer asked Morgan how he could still be eligible for a court-appointed attorney if he was working 80 hours per week.
Morgan was instructed to fill out paperwork to see if he is still eligible for a court-appointed attorney.
Benjamin Ray Highley, 47, of HC 60 Box 43C, Reader, is charged by the grand jury with Possession of a motor vehicle without vehicle identification mark, and altering a vehicle identification number.
Highly told Judge Cramer he disputes the giving voluntary statements in the matter. He is scheduled to appear in court for a trial.
Joshua Elijah Toothman, 32, of 714 North Fourth Avenue, Paden City, charged in two separate indictments, did not appear in court as scheduled. Toothman is charged with one count felony offense of retaliation of a witness, and in a separate indictment he is charged with attempted nighttime burglary and conspiracy – both felony offenses.
He is represented by attorney Kevin Neiswonger who told the court that Toothman was not transported and is incarcerated. Judge Cramer continued the case to March 30 after being told there could be a possible plea agreement. A trial date in the matter is still set for April 9.