By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
The Honorable Judge James Courrier presided over Tucker County Circuit Court with three criminal cases on the docket. With the impact of COVID-19, court cases have been severely delayed to adhere to the guidelines set forth by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice. With restrictions being lifted, hearings are being conducted and trials are able to be rescheduled.
First to appear was Emily Heckler, currently in custody on a first degree murder charge. Based on new information the defense is receiving from their experts, there is a chance they will be seeking an insanity defense approach. In the event of an insanity plea, the defendant admits to the action, however possesses a lack of responsibility based on a mental illness. Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora is taking that information to the prosecuting experts with the consideration of hiring new experts. Heckler’s pretrial date has been set for September 9 at 10:30 a.m. with a three day trial September 28 through 30. This trial will take place in Keyser at The Mineral County Courthouse.
Lukas Thompson entered the courtroom to plead guilty to one count of uttering, the act of knowingly passing on or using a forged document. This hearing was not serving as an indictment; however, he appeared to make a plea. Thompson cashed a check at Jim’s All Star that he was not permitted to do. He admitted to Judge Courrier and the court that he succumbed to drug issues and was in need of help. Thompson was put on probation, is required to pay restitution, and will be taking advantage of drug court in Randolph County where he has the same charges.
The final criminal case on the docket was that of Justin Campbell, charged with one count of forgery and one count of uttering. A plea agreement has been offered to Campbell, who requested more time to review the offer. Judge Courrier scheduled Campbell to return on August 7 for a plea hearing.
The Honorable Judge Lynn Nelson is scheduled to preside over Tucker County Circuit Court on Monday, June 15.