PARSONS – A woman accused of allegedly threatening she would hurt an alleged victim if she testified against her friend had her case bound over to circuit court for possible presentation to the Tucker County Grand Jury Wednesday. Deana Lee Bates Clarke, 42, of 613 Jameson Ave., Parsons, is currently lodged in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, after being arrested on one felony count of intimidation of a witness.
“The criminal rules allow hearsay when it comes from a credible source,” LaMora said. “I believe Chief Deputy Surguy would be considered a credible source. It is allowed if there is a reason the person who is to be testifying cannot make it.”
LaMora said the alleged victim has significant disabilities.
“She does not have any legs and is paralyzed on one side of her body,” LaMora said. “We have had difficulty trying to get her transported. The Senior Center has not been able to provide a van for transportation, especially with such short notice on this preliminary hearing. The state would ask the court to allow the hearsay testimony from Deputy Surguy and to limit any objections from the defense on this hearsay testimony.”
Irons said she would allow the testimony, and Surguy took the stand. He said he spoke with the alleged victim, and was serving as the lead investigator.
“A homemaker called me at my home and was concerned about Karen Long,” Surguy said. “A couple of individuals had been at Long’s home. The defendant called Karen Long from another individual’s cell phone and had threatened Long telling her if she testified against her daughter, bad things may happen.”
Surguy said he visited the alleged victim and took a statement from her.
“She said knew Deana and said she was at her home to try to get money out of her,” Surguy said. “She said Deana called her and said anybody do to your daughter what you did…you better not go to court and testify. She said Deana told her she better tell the truth, and told her if she testified that Mia (the homemaker there now) would be gone and bad things would happen to her (Karen Long.)”
Clarke’s attorney, Eric Hensil, asked Surguy if any other witnesses came forward or if anyone else had witnessed the threats.
“I talked to another homemaker that was there when the phone call occurred,” Surguy said. “She said she did not know what was said on the phone, but she knows the alleged victim was called by Deana.”
Hensil called Clarke to the stand, and asked her she knew the alleged victim.
“I have known her for 15 years,” Clarke said, adding that she classified their relationship as friends.
“On the date that these threats were supposedly made, did you contact the alleged victim?” Hensil asked.
“Yes, I called her on (a friend’s) Safe link phone,” Clarke said. “My phone was not working.”
Hensil asked Clarke if, when she made that call, she in anyway threatened the alleged victim.
“No, I did not,” Clarke said.
LaMora asked Clarke if she knew any reason why the alleged victim would allege she had threatened her.
“I do not know. I do not know,” Clarke said.
LaMora said unfortunately, there is no physical evidence in the case.
“This is a he said/she said situation,” LaMora said. “We don’t have any physical evidence we can produce and there is no video recording. We have nothing but the victim’s statement, who has not only been the victim of abuse of an incapacitated adult, the victim of domestic abuse and she has no way, save calling law enforcement, to protect herself.”
LaMora said the alleged victim has not only been abused physically, but threatened by others not to testify, people who claim to be her friends.
“We ask that the court finds probable cause and that the case be bound over to circuit court,” LaMora said.
“In no way do I want to diminish the limitations of the alleged victim in this case,” Hensil said. “She has been abused in the case, but the only piece of evidence the state has in this case is the victim’s statement. There is no collaboration or any evidence from any other witnesses, no recordings, nothing – it is simply what the victim alleged. With that alone, we feel probable cause has not been met and ask the charge be dropped.”
Irons said after hearing the testimony presented, the statements given and council’s arguments, she felt the state had established probable cause and ordered the case bound over to circuit court for possible presentation to the grand jury.
Clarke remains in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, with bond set at $10,000 cash only.