By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
The Honorable Judge Nelson presided over multiple hearings on Monday, January 7, 2019, including that of Jason White, Charles Wolfe, and Lester Mook. Mook was first on the docket coming in with Defense Attorney Pat Nichols. Nichols made a motion to dismiss the two counts of receiving/concealing/transferring of stolen property involving a side by side and a camper. Nichols felt this statute was defective being such a broad covering of how it was worded and therefore motioned for dismissal.
Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora responded, “I disagree, it clearly states receiving of stolen property and that’s a question of the fact for the jury, not a question of the law as written”. The statute was then read as it is currently written, to which Nelson agreed to the opinion of Nichols and is allowing the indictment to be amended to receiving of stolen property, eliminating concealing and transferring. Nichols continued with a second motion requesting the disclosure of the name of an informant involved in this case. LaMora stated he will check with law enforcement in regards to the informant’s identity and the hearing was dismissed.
Escorted in by Sheriff Wilfong and two additional guards was Jason White and his attorney. The Defense Attorney stated he was under the impression they were to receive information and a replacement CD prior to Christmas and they had not. The prosecutor responded stating they had to get in touch with task force to whom the originals were returned which delayed the process, however the defense now has all necessary information. It was suggested to set a trial date, to which Judge Nelson asked LaMora how much time he would need given the amount of information being brought forth. “This is a first degree murder charge, so I would say no less than five days due to bringing in several experts”, he replied. White is scheduled for a five day trial by jury April 29 through May 3.
Next on the docket was Charles Wolfe appearing for his pre-trial hearing regarding the submission of 404B evidence, which is evidence from previous altercations displaying the character of the accused and similarities between cases. LaMora feels there is a common scheme to Wolfe’s violence and requests the testimonies be heard from previous victims not only in Tucker County, but also Grant County and in the state of Maryland. The judge agreed and contact will be made to request their presence at the next hearing.
Appearing for the first time was Ronald James, indicted on seventeen counts of failure to meet an obligation to provide child support to a minor child between the years of 1996 and 2014. The total owed by James is $11,892.72. Nelson made James aware that each penalty carries a sentence of one to five years. James’ defense attorney stated he felt this case is complicated due to the case being prosecuted under the state of Ohio and he is unsure if he can be prosecuted in West Virginia. Judge Nelson wanted to know where James has been all of these years. Some of this time James has spent in jail. Bond was discussed and was determined to be set at $20,000. James commented he was self employed to which LaMora stated, “If he’s working he can pay for the electronic monitoring”, which would allow James to be on house arrest and earning an income. The Judge agreed and told James he could be released on house arrest if he had the $225 to be hooked up on GPS monitoring until his next appearance.
Jasper Snyder took the stand and his attorney announced a plea agreement had been met. Snyder pled guilty to one count of entering without breaking with the agreement that two counts of unlawful taking of a vehicle and one count of obtaining goods by false pretenses would be dropped. In addition, Snyder is responsible for restitution for the damages to the Tucker County Animal Shelter. LaMora requested no less than one but no more than ten years be considered to be served at the Anthony Correction Center. The defense attorney requested a presentencing investigation be conducted to which Judge Nelson assigned to the probation office. Snyder will return for sentencing at a later date.
Lynyrd Nestor appeared for the first time after the judge issued an order in November for law enforcement to take him into custody upon location for his continued failure to appear at scheduled hearings. Nestor is charged with one count of burglary to a home in Parsons, where he allegedly stole medication, and one count of delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, both from 2015. The defense attorney requested bond be set to which the judge complied with a $1,000 cash bond until his next hearing.
Anthony Steele was scheduled to appear however his lawyer did not show up. Judge Nelson suggested a formal notice be sent to the defense attorney and to reschedule for a later date. Steele, Mook, White, Wolfe, James, and Nestor are all scheduled to return on February 11, 2019 at 9 a.m. before Judge Nelson.
As the judges rotate case load, their hearings slightly overlap. Judge Courrier had a criminal hearing on Wednesday, January 9, in the case of William Murphy violating his probation and Community Corrections. Courrier assigned Murphy to spend seventy- five days in sanction before being released at the end of February.