By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Tucker County Circuit Court was in session on Friday, July 14 with the Honorable Judge James Courrier on the bench. Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora and his newly appointed assistant, Attorney Frank Bush worked on the same side of the bench for the first time during these hearings.
Charged with three felonies, two second degree charges of sexual assault and one for soliciting a minor via computer, was David Phillips. He was originally scheduled for a two day trial later this month; however, the defendant’s council as well as the state had recently contacted the judge regarding a request made by Phillips for the victim’s records. Due to the time it will take to acquire these documents, the trial will be continued until September 9 and 10. The defending attorney also requested omitting a portion of a statement made by Phillips in regards to the victim’s age, which Judge Nelson granted.
A status hearing for Emily Heckler, charged with first degree murder, also commenced with a motion for co-counsel to represent the defendant. This motion was granted with the appointment of Attorney Jeremy Cooper to also serve as the defendant’s representative. The court inquired as to the decision of the counsel to seek an evaluation of competency, though it was noted that a third evaluation would not be necessary. Heckler will appear again on September 11 at 10:30 a.m. for a one hour hearing.
Dustin Moran appeared in court, charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver (one relating to marijuana and the other methamphetamine). A plea bargain was presented to Moran to drop the charge containing the marijuana if he pleads guilty to the remaining felony. Morans agreed and plead guilty to the felony of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Prior to sentencing, the defense council requested a presentencing investigation to be performed by the Probation Officer, and will return for sentencing on September 11 at 9:45 a.m., pending PSI completion. LaMora and Bush are requesting the sentencing be served consecutive with his charges in Randolph County, resulting in fully serving their sentence before serving time for his Tucker County charge.
Next to appear for her hearing was Kelsie Odessa Hebb, charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver, including methamphetamine, heroine, and hydrocodone, and one count of person possessing a firearm though prohibited. A plea offer was presented to Hebb with an agreement to drop the charges of possession of a firearm which she accepted. The defense requests a PSI to be performed prior to sentencing, which is tentatively scheduled for September 11 at 2:30 p.m. The prosecution is seeking a concurrent sentence of one to five years incarceration. Hebb is currently on home confinement, however once she pays her outstanding balance to Community Corrections, she can be released.
The final criminal case hearing for the day was that of Taylor Dilley, charged with one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, and five counts of delivery of suboxone, a class three controlled substance. This was scheduled as a suppression hearing, as the defense motioned to omit statements given to the police as well as items seized during a search. Sergeant C.A. Teter took the stand to testify on the search warrant followed by Deputy B.T. Zirk, who testified on behalf of the Miranda rights. At the conclusion of the testimonies, Judge Courrier determined the that the search warrant was properly obtained and the statements made were made freely to law enforcement, as well as all items seized, which are now property of the Tucker County Police Department. All items will be permitted to the court, though objections were made by the defending council. Dilley will return to court on August 2 at 1:45 p.m.