By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Recently, the Honorable Judge James Courrier took the bench to preside over Tucker County Circuit Court cases. On the docket was Dillon Waybright, charged with over 100 counts of child abuse resulting in injury, defended by Attorney’s Morris Davis and James Hawkins, was set for a pre-trial and motions hearing. The defense’s first motion was to suppress evidence, stating that the search warrant did not properly describe the property that was to be searched.
Prosecuting Attorney Savannah Hull-Wilkins called Tucker County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant C.A. Teter to testify on the matter. He provided numerous pieces of evidence, including photographs of the property in question along with the search warrant, to validate their execution of the document and asked that the request be denied by the court. Judge Courrier stated he would take the motion into the consideration, but would not rule on the matter until a later time.
The second motion presented by Davis and Hawkins was for the court to find that the statements made by Waybright were not voluntarily made. Testimony was again taken from TCSO Sgt. C.A. Teter where he submitted a written Miranda Rights document that was explained to and signed by Waybright. The State argued that no constitutional violations occurred and the statements were voluntarily made. The Judge agreed and denied the defense’s request.
Waybright’s Counsel then requested portions of the statement be redacted, meaning censored or obscure part of a text for legal or security purposes. Wilkins opposed the motion and again, the Court was in favor of the State. Waybright is set for trial on April 19 and 20, 2021.
William Shaw III appeared with Defense Attorney Timothy Gentilozzi with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Frank Bush representing the State. Shaw was present to formally accept a plea agreement he verbally agreed to, avoiding a jury trial. Shaw pleaded to the misdemeanor offense of possession of counterfeit bills and was sentenced to a year in jail, which was suspended for one year of probation with Community Corrections supervision.
In the case of Darrel Spitznogle, indicted on charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse, both in the first degree, Bush requested the court allow certain evidence to be admitted. Judge Courrier responded that he would need more information to rule on that request. Parties are to return for another motion hearing in the near future.
Lester Mook entered along with his counsel, Attorney Pat Nichols, for sentencing after being convicted in September by a jury of the felony offense of POssession of a stolen vehicle. Wilkins requested that Mook serve the one to five-year sentence in a state correctional facility. Nichols requested that since his client has a new set of charges that are still outstanding that the sentencing be continued to a later date. Judge Courrier granted the defense’s request and permitted a short continuance. Mook is set to return to court on April 16, 2021.
The following day, March 18, 2021, the Honorable Judge Lynn Nelson took to the courtroom to hear the competency results for Jeremy Watson. Watson is charged with a felon with a firearm, obstructing an officer, failure to provide fingerprints, and possession with intent to deliver. He was found to be competent to stand trial, though Defense Attorney Hillary Bright requested an additional evaluation. Judge Nelson granted Bright’s request and another evaluation will be administered.
The final criminal case for the Circuit Court was that of Britni Ball. The State had filed a motion to revoke Ball’s probation and presented the court with testimony from Dustin Luzier, Director of Tucker Day Report (Community Corrections). Luzier confirmed that Ball had violated the terms of her supervision and has also received new criminal charges. Judge Nelson determined Ball had violated her terms and ordered her to serve the remainder of her sentence in jail.