By Jean A. Flanagan
On August 27 last year, 34-year-old Jerud L. Crites, by his own admission, drank six to eight beers and got behind the wheel of his Ford F-350 truck. At some point on South Fork Road, he struck a Dodge Intrepid carrying four people, two adults and two children. One of those children was a four month-old infant, who died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash.[private]
Crites was indicted last week by a Hardy County Grand Jury on six felony counts including one count of driving under the influence causing death, one count of driving under the influence causing serious bodily harm, two counts of driving under the influence causing bodily injury, one count of driving under the influence and one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Crites was one of 12 people arraigned in Circuit Court on Feb. 9.
•Stoney W. Ault, 34, of Halethorpe, Md. was indicted on 84 counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, 84 counts of sexual assault in the first degree and 84 counts of incest.
According to court documents, West Virginia State Police received a Child Protective Services referral in September 2015. In October, a State Trooper listened to the victim talk with a child advocate about abuse. Beginning in October 2006, Ault allegedly began abusing the child when she was 5 years old. The abuse allegedly continued until she was 12 years old.
Ault’s attorney, Kirk Bottner of Charles Town, requested a reduction of bail, so Ault could be released from jail and live with his mother in Baltimore.
“I would oppose that,” Hardy County Prosecuting Attorney Lucas See said. “He has made contact with children, which violated the terms of his bond. That’s why he’s in jail now.”
Citing the nature of the crimes, Judge Charles Parsons denied bond and Ault was remanded to Potomac Highlands Regional Jail.
•Charles C. Moton Jr., 37, of Baker was indicted on three counts of causing sexual explicit matter of a minor to be sent, three counts of using a computer to attempt to seduce a minor, one count of using a minor in filming sexual explicit matter and two counts of use of a minor in photographing sexual explicit matter.
Charging documents show in October 2015, Hardy County Sheriff’s Deputies were notified of a sexually explicit message on a minor’s Facebook page. The message allegedly said Moton would pay the minor to perform a sex act. The complaint also said two sexually explicit videos were allegedly sent to Moton.
Deputies secured a search warrant, confiscated the minor’s phone. Another search warrant yielded various items from Moton’s home including VHS tapes, two laptops, a recording system, four cell phones and disposable cameras.
•Andrew Todd Tanner, 41, of Moorefield was indicted on one count of sexual abuse in the second degree, two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and one count of driving under the influence.
According to court documents, West Virginia State Police received a complaint that Tanner allegedly assaulted her in her home in October, 2015.
•Andrew A. Funk, 43, of Old Fields, was indicted on one count of sexual assault in the second degree, one count of sexual abuse in the first degree and one count of domestic battery.
Court records show in August 2015, West Virginia State Police received a complaint that the victim had given Funk a ride because he was drunk. He then allegedly forced her to have sex and physically assaulted her.
•Ricardo Hernandez Gutierrez Jr., 36, of Harrisonburg, Va., was indicted on one count of possession of the precursors of methamphetamine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, one count of attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory and one count of bringing stolen property into the state.
According to court documents, in December 2015, West Virginia State Police responded to a Hardy County 911 complaint of a suspicious vehicle on George Washington National Forest property outside Mathias. State Police investigated and found a Ford F-150 with blankets covering the windows. When Troopers checked Gutierrez’s license, they found he was wanted in Virginia. When they checked the registration of the vehicle, they discovered it was allegedly stolen.
A search of the vehicle yielded a backpack, in plain sight, which allegedly contained precursors used in the operation of a clandestine drug laboratory.
•Manrique Candelario Santia, 41, of Moorefield, was indicted on one count of possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I controlled substance, marijuana and one count of possession with intent to distribute a Schedule III controlled substance, Suboxone.
According to court documents, on Oct. 16, 2015, Moorefield Police Department received a dispatch from Hardy County 911 of a suspicious vehicle that had been parked in the same location for 45 minutes. When officers approached in their vehicle, the vehicle moved, but failed to stop at a stop sign.
MPD initiated a traffic stop and issued a citation for failure to stop at the stop sign.
Following the traffic stop, Santia allegedly failed to stop again at a stop sign. When MPD initiated a second traffic stop, Santia allegedly accelerated and passed a vehicle in a no passing zone on South Fork Road.
When Santia finally stopped at Winchester Avenue and Clay Street, MPD requested he exit the vehicle. A pat-down search allegedly revealed five small packages of marijuana. A search of Santia’s wallet allegedly yielded the Suboxone and other drugs.
•John D. Coppe, 46, of Moorefield was indicted on one count of illegal possession of a firearm.
Court documents show an off-duty Moorefield Police Officer allegedly observed and recorded Coppe at the Hardy County Rod and Gun Club allegedly possessing and firing a firearm.
Coppe was convicted in May 2011 of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance, a felony, which prohibits the possession and use of a firearm.
•Bradley S. Skipper, 26, of Fisher was indicted on one count of fleeing a law enforcement officer in a vehicle with reckless indifference for the safety of others and two counts of child neglect creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury.
According to court documents, in December 2015, Moorefield Police Officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a vehicle with a burned out headlight. Instead of stopping, the vehicle allegedly sped up to more than 20 miles over the speed limit and failed to stop at a stop sign. When the vehicle finally stopped, officers learned the vehicle’s registration had expired in 2003 and Skipper allegedly had no driver’s license. Also in the vehicle were another adult and two children, ages 2 years and 3 months.
•Jeffrey D. Helmick, 19, of Moorefield was indicted on two counts of wanton endangerment involving a firearm.
Court documents show in December 2015, West Virginia State Police Troopers spoke with two juveniles who said they had allegedly been followed by Helmick and two other people in a black Dodge Dakota on U.S. Route 48. At some point, the Dakota allegedly pulled in front of them, slowed down and Helmick allegedly partially climbed out of the window and fired three to five shots at the juveniles.
During the investigation, Helmick allegedly admitted he fired five shots into the air with a .357 weapon he brought from home.
•Brittany Jo Sayers, 30, of Wardensville, was indicted on one count of grand larceny.
Court document show the West Virginia State Police responded to a burglary complaint in August 2015. The victim said Sayers stole jewelry from her. During the investigation, State Troopers interviewed others who said Sayers allegedly asked them how much she could get if she pawned some jewelry. Sayers allegedly showed them the jewelry and said her boyfriend gave it to her.
•Robert W. Smith Jr., 27, of Mathias, was indicted on two counts of failure to register as a sex offender.
Court documents show in November 2015, West Virginia State Police were contacted by Moorefield Police that a vehicle registered to Smith and another person was not listed on the Sex Offenders Registry.
In October 2015, West Virginia State Police arrested Smith for driving a vehicle belonging to a relative and not updating the Sex Offender Registry.
Smith was convicted in January 2014 on two counts of third degree sexual assault of a 13-year-old and was required to register as a sex offender for life.
All those indicted pleaded not guilty to the charges. The first pre-trial and suppression hearings will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 23, beginning at 9 a.m.
All of the charges contained in the above-referenced indictments are merely accusations and not evidence of guilt, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
In another proceeding, Brooklyn Dolan, 22 of Purgitsville, pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining goods or money under false pretenses, a misdemeanor, and one count of conspiracy, a felony.
Under the plea agreement, the one year penalty for false pretenses would be suspended and Dolan given three years probation. If she completes the probation without violation, the felony charge will be dismissed.
Parsons said he would accept the plea agreement, suspend the one-year sentence, order probation and hold the felony charge in abeyance.
“I hope this works for you,” Parsons said. “I am interested in keeping the burden of a felony conviction from young people.”[/private]