By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Jason Adkins, William Ball Jr., and William Shaw III were just three of the individuals on the docket to appear in Tucker County Circuit Court overseen by the Honorable Judge James Courrier.
The morning began with Kenneth Smith, indicted on one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and five counts of delivery of a controlled substance, suboxone. Defense Attorney Phil Isner requested another hearing to allow for more time to fully inform his client of the plea that has been offered in his case. Smith is set to return on September 9 at 2:45 p.m. where he will either take the plea or set the trial date.
Charles McCrum, charged with five counts of sexual abuse first degree, five counts sexual assault first degree, and 10 counts of sexual abuse by parent, guardian, or person of trust, appeared before the bench. Prior to the hearing, Prosecuting Attorney Raymond LaMora offered a plea agreement to the defendant for consideration. This plea will be discussed and decided upon. If it is not accepted, the court will set a trial date and a transcript will be provided. Defense Attorney Brent Easton has concerns with his clients and their competency in this matter. The victim in this case has since turned 18, the Guardian ad Litem questioned if they were to continue in such capacity. The GAL will be speaking to the victim pertaining to the plea agreement to ensure she understands what to expect at the trial, then her obligations will be over.
Defense Attorney Hilary Bright took the bench alongside her client Jason Adkins on charges of failure to appear. A plea agreement has been put in place which is expected to be ready at the next hearing. Judge Courrier offered a jury trial this term to the defendant, but so far he doesn’t feel he needs it. They will return on September 22 at 2:30 p.m.
Defense Attorney Morris Davis alongside LaMora were before Judge Courrier at the agreed time, however defendant Justin Campbell was not. The purpose of this meeting was for a status hearing relating to the uttering charge obtained by Campbell while within Tucker County. Davis confirmed that Campbell just recently was released from jail on other charges and may not have the resources to contact him or transportation to the courthouse, therefore asked that a capias not be issued for his immediate arrest. Judge Courrier agreed he would give him one more chance to get in touch before he issued a capias, and rescheduled the hearing for October 13 at 1:45 p.m. “That would give us a couple months to locate him and make sure he’s here,” said Courrier.
Assisting Prosecuting Attorney Frank Bush spoke on behalf of the state for the remaining hearings of the afternoon. Deanna Waybright, charged with uttering, was present with her representative Hilary Bright. Bright had filed some motions, the first requesting to surpress the statement made by Waybright that she claims she did not understand. Bush had no issues with that request therefore Courrier granted that motion.
Bright’s next motion was relating to the subpoena sent to Jim’s All Star to receive any potential video footage of the incident. Up to this time, there has been no response. Bush stated he would step in and attempt to contact the owner to determine whether there is footage. Her third motion was a request to perform jury questionnaires to ensure proper jury selection, which Courrier also felt was a reasonable request. Waybright will return at 2:45 p.m. on September 9.
Josh Swisher, charged with two counts of grand larceny, two counts of conspiracy, and one count of altering/changing manufacturer numbers did not appear for his hearing. Defense Attorney Brent Easton was present as today was intended to serve as a final pretrial. Easton requested a continuance be set with Bush agreeing due to the need to extend the trial from one to two days. Easton said his client Swisher was in favor of the continuance the last time they spoke earlier that week. Another hearing is needed to review 404B evidence (evidence from another crime in efforts to show the character of the defendant), therefore a new trial date can be set at that time. Courrier stated he would not issue a capias at this time as he hopes the defendant has a reasonable explanation for his absence. Swisher is set to return at 9:15 a.m. on September 9.
Darrell Spitznoggle participated via video conference from the Tygarts Valley Regional Jail. Spitznoggle is charged with one count of sexual assault in the first degree and six counts of sexual abuse in the first degree. Defense Attorney Morris Davis was in the courtroom when he asked for a bill of particulars as the indictment uses a timeframe from August 1, 2013 until August 1, 2015. Davis claims that this length of a timeline provides difficulty in tracking down witnesses and documentations. According to Davis, a defendant is supposed to be given notice of what offenses they allegedly committed and when they happened.
Bush responded that the victim, who is now 16, stated the incidents happened between the ages of nine and 11, which is seven years ago. Given this timeframe and the traumatic essence of the alleged crimes, the victim does not remember specific dates though recalls the last incident happened on a trip to Morgantown when they stayed at a hotel. The remainder of the cases happened during the timeframe the defendant was living in the victims parents hotel. Bush feels this information should be satisfactory. Judge Courrier responded, “I know it is difficult on both sides of this,” though he went on to say that in cases involving youth and traumatic events, specifics can be difficult. Courrier then denied the motion because there is currently no further information to share, though he instructed the prosecution that if any new information becomes available that it be readily made available for the defense.
With no potential resolution in place yet, Bush suggested another status hearing be scheduled for Spitznogle to potentially act upon a deal or set a trial date. This status hearing will take place at 1 p.m. on September 9.
Defense Attorney Tim Gentilozzi entered the courtroom with his client, Staci Casstevens, charged with two counts of uttering. This hearing served as an arraignment hearing where Judge Courrier left the bond as set by the Magistrate Court. There are no suppression issues in this case which will return to action on 9 a.m. on September 9.
Gentilozzi also represented the last defendant of the day, William Shaw III, charged with three counts of counterfeiting. There weren’t any pending motions to discuss at this hearing, though Gentilozzi was recently appointed and needs time to familiarize himself with the case. Bush is going to take this time to work on a potential resolution as well. A status hearing is set for 9 a.m. on September 9 where the case could be potentially given a trial date.