By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Seventeen cases were on the docket for Thursdays hearings with the honorable Judge Lynn Nelson. Sheriff Brian Wilfong escorted the defendants in one by one as they were present with their attorney. Circuit Court Clerk Sharon Moats swore each individual in as they took their seat before Judge Nelson.
Lynyrd Nestor was scheduled to appear again after failure to show in October, yet he failed to attend for the second time in a row. Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora requested a capias be issued to arrest Nestor upon location.
Gerald Cosner was present with representation on a felony charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Cosner plead guilty and the one to five year consequence was suspended for a two year probation sentence as part of his guilty plea agreement.
Next to appear was Jasper Snyder, who was arraigned last month without his attorney present. Snyder’s attorney requested delaying proceeding forward until next month to allow for time to look into the cases further. Snyder is charged with entering without breaking into a building owned by the Tucker County Animal Shelter and removing a drill valued at $100, laptop valued at $250, a set of walkie talkies valued at $70, a hammer worth $2, and a box of pens valued at $3.
Veronica Collins appeared with her attorney on violation of a safety order. The state of West Virginia was represented by Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling from Randolph County. Collins was sentenced to serve thirty days in jail, which Collins elected to do on an hourly basis. The defense attorney claimed the requirement was confusing to the defendant and didn’t feel she needed jail confinement as she is an employee at Ruby Hospital and working six days a week. Poling responded they have looked into this claim and states they have been unable to secure proof of employment and feels filling her sentencing requirement on home confinement would be insufficient. Judge Nelson agreed with the prosecutor and informed Collins she is to finish her sentence of fifteen consecutive days in a cell to complete her required punishment.
Wilfong called Jason White along with his attorney, who is appearing on murder charges from September of 2017. There is still an active investigation in process on this case therefore Poling requested postponing the hearing to a later date. Defense attorney agreed with the comment he would like to move forward sooner rather than later due to the age of this case.
Following White on the docket was the state versus David Phillips. There was a motion for bond reinstatement with the fact the victim is no longer in the area. Judge Nelson reiterated to Phillips that under no circumstances, if she returns, is he to come in contact with her regardless of circumstances. Phillips stated he understood and Nelson reinstated his bond at $5,000.
Defense Attorney Prentice entered with his client Joshua White on the charges of receiving and transferring stolen property. LaMora made a motion to the judge to consider removing Prentice from the case on the count of missing several hearing appointments, asset dishonesty, and petitioned to forfeit the $10,000 put up for his bond. LaMora predicted the failure to appear was intentional to avoid being served warrants from multiple additional county charges. Prentice defended his case as miscommunication regarding hearing dates and stated the defendant’s wife secured a loan for the $10,000 bond. Judge Nelson denied LaMora’s request, leaving Prentice on the case, however $1,000 of the bond will be forfeited.
One of the bigger cases on the docket for the day was the state of West Virginia verses Tom Harsh. The victim of the sexual assault charges against Harsh was present for this hearing but was not needed to speak. A plea agreement was presented to Harsh in which he accepted and pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault by a custodian, parent, or guardian. This is Harsh’s first felony, to which Judge Nelson explained the consequences of consecutive felonies, and his inability to ever own or possess a firearm. This penalty carries a sentence of ten to twenty five years in prison; however, it was requested by the defendant’s legal representative to conduct a presentencing investigation prior to a sentencing hearing, to which Nelson agreed.
Next to enter the courtroom was Jeremy Watson. Watson is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a felon in possession of a firearm, obstructing an officer, and refusing to fingerprints. Being a new indictment, it was requested to postpone this case to a later date.
David Crouch took to the stand with his legal counsel requesting to proceed with sentencing. Defense suggested Crouch accepts his crimes and responsibility for them and is requesting probation or home confinement. His argument was Crouch is a model candidate having a perfect record for the last two years on home confinement. LaMora responded with informing the judge that Crouch is charged with distributing marijuana to a juvenile and believes it has been on more than one occasion. LaMora felt that due to the fact this increases the likelihood of this minor to become addicted and follow down a dark path, he feels the penalty of one to five years is justified. Judge Nelson decided to place Crouch on three years of probation with the first year on the community correction program.
Entering next before the judge was Ryan Lower with charges consisting of two counts of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine and suboxone). Lower plead guilty to these misdemeanor charges. Each count carries a six month sentence, totaling twelve months, to be served consecutively, on probation within the community correction program.
Anthony Steele entered in chains and took his seat beside his legal representative. LaMora presented that Steele plead guilty in October of 2017 to possession with intent to deliver and was sent to the Anthony Correction Center. During Steele’s time there, he acquired a lengthy list of violations that has lead to his return to the regional jail. The defending attorney was unaware of the violations incurred while at the center and requested a continuation for time to review.
Jason Adkins was scheduled to appear for sentencing however failed to make an appearance. His attorney stated there was some confusion on the date of this hearing, to which Judge Nelson agreed to reschedule for next month. Donoven Kinzer, facing charges of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, a felony, is currently facilitated in a detoxification and mental health unit and will be rescheduled. Tommy Summerfield, Jr. was also on the docket, but is currently in a treatment facility. Summerfield is facing one count of gross negligence of a child creating substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury and will be rescheduled.
Snyder, Jason White, Joshua White, Watson, Steele, and Adkins are all scheduled to reappear on December 3. Lester Mook Jr. was also schedule to appear along with Britni Ball, however their attorney was unable to attend and are also rescheduled to appear on December 3. To date, Mook has not accepted a plea agreement. In the case of Charles Wolfe, he was formerly scheduled for a jury trial in early December. LaMora has filed a motion to submit 404B evidence, which is including evidence from past conduct of the individual where he or she has been charged previously for prior conduct leading to similar results. A hearing on the third will result in Judge Nelson allowing or denying LaMora’s request to use this evidence and a new jury trial date will be set afterwards.