By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Due to inclement weather, the Honorable Judge James Courrier opted to hold his Tucker County Circuit Court hearings through a virtual platform. Prosecuting Attorney Savannah Hull-Wilkins had one case on the docket, that of Emily Heckler who is incarcerated on first-degree murder charges. This hearing served as a pre-trial, as Heckler was set to go before a jury next month, however, the prosecution moved for a continuation.
As the newly elected prosecutor in the county, Wilkins felt it was in the best interest of the state to allow more time for her to become more familiar with the case before presenting it to a jury.
The file states that on Friday, April 13, 2018, at approximately 12:30 p.m., 911 received a phone call from the defendant’s step-mother, Marion Heckler from Hambleton, stating Heckler had just been released from the hospital. M. Heckler feared for her well-being and that of others, stating she was allegedly out of control. While en route to the victim’s home, Sergeant C.A. Teter with the Tucker County Sheriff’s Department tried to contact M. Heckler by phone, though was unsuccessful. Upon arriving, he noticed something lying in the driveway that he quickly discovered was a female body covered in blood. After hearing screaming coming from the residence, another female appeared which was identified as Emily Heckler. She allegedly stated that she and her step-mother had an argument which resulted in her grabbing a kitchen knife, chasing M. Heckler outside where she supposedly stabbed her multiple times.
Judge Courrier granted the motion and rescheduled the trial for May 11, 12, and 13, 2021, in Mineral County. The trial has been relocated out of the county to ensure a non-biased jury could be selected.
Assistant Prosecutor Frank Bush had the remaining criminal cases on the docket, beginning with Darrel Spitznogle. The defendant is incarcerated on charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse, both in the first degree. According to the complaint made on February 13, 2020, a juvenile male claimed that Spitznogle allegedly sexually abused the victim when he was between the ages of nine to eleven. After the Judge heard from Morriss Davis, Defense Attorney for Spitznogle, the case was continued and a status hearing has been scheduled for March 17, 2021.
Staci Casstevens was set to appear on her two charges for uttering checks at Big John’s Restaurant. According to the records, Casstevens issued a check from Kisner’s Pit Stop, a business no longer in operation, on or about February 21, 2020. She was arraigned on these charges in June of 2020 and later indicted by Judge Courrier. She has failed to appear multiple times for her scheduled hearings in September, and November, agreeing to appear to take a plea in December, which also did not occur. Unfortunately, she was unable to participate in her most recent hearing due to being incarcerated on a separate set of charges stemming from Pendleton County. According to W.Va. Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, those charges include uttering, accessory before the fact, grand larceny, forgery, burglary, and conspiracy to commit a felony. She was booked on January 22, 2021.
William Shaw III, charged with three counts of counterfeiting, was on the docket for a pre-trial hearing. Shaw allegedly used movie prop money to make a purchase at BFS in Parsons on or around February 22, 2020. Shaw and a white female were identified by surveillance footage from the store. According to the record, the arresting officer was contacted days later by an officer in Philippi who stated he had also arrested Shaw recently and found him in possession of approximately $2,000 of movie prop money. Bush stated that this case is on track and scheduled for trial on March 8, 2021, beginning at 9 a.m.