By Jean A. Flanagan
C. Carter Williams, 22nd Circuit Court judge, ruled on plea agreements on Tuesday, Nov. 28 in Hardy County.
William M. Warwick, 19, of High View was in court to be sentenced on a petition to revoke his probation.
Warwick was indicted in June for one count of possession with intent to deliver a Schedule I controlled substance, and one count of delivery of a Schedule I controlled substance. He pleaded guilty to one county of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance and his sentence was deferred. On Nov. 9, the Hardy County Probation Office filed a petition to revoke his probation. [private]
“I’ve only recently been hired and need time to evaluate the case,” said attorney Dan James. “He’s only 19 years old. He made a stupid decision. We don’t want a felony hanging around his neck.”
“Your client has squandered his opportunity,” said Judge C. Carter Williams. “This is more than stupidity. It’s a flagrant disregard for the situation.”
Hardy County Prosecuting Attorney Lucas See argued Warwick needed to be evaluated by professionals.
“I would recommend a 60-day evaluation,” he said. “He was arrested for dealing drugs and in less than three months he is dealing drugs again.”
“The court has cause to revoke his diversion and I’m inclined to sentence him today,” Williams said. “I will order a 60-day evaluation and will set the case for sentencing on Jan. 23.”
“My client doesn’t want to plead guilty unless he gets out of jail today,” attorney Lary Garrett said.
Garrett’s client, Kenneth M. Currence, 41, of Romney, was indicted on one count of possession with intent to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance, one count of delivery of the Schedule II controlled substance and one count of delivery of a Schedule I controlled substance. He filed a plea agreement to plead guilty to one count of delivery of a Schedule I controlled substance.
“I want to go to trial,” Currence said. “I’ve been in jail since June 2. I missed my daughter’s birthday, I don’t want to miss Christmas.”
“We can do that, go to trial,” See said. “I’ll convict you of all three charges.”
Williams asked the probation officer if a pre-sentence investigation could be completed by Dec. 18.
“I’ll do my best,” Officer Aura Brill said.
“There is no way to promise you’ll get out by Christmas,” Williams said. “There’s no guarantee you’ll get probation.”
Williams continued the case to Dec. 18.
“I hate to send someone to prison for $2.50 can of beef jerky,” See said. “I think he’s learned his lesson.”
Justin A. Gray, 29, of Moorefield, pleaded guilty to the sole count of the indictment, shoplifting, third offense. The felony offense carries a penalty of not less than one year and not more than 10 years in prison. In exchange for the guilty plea, the state recommended home incarceration.
“I was under the influence and wasn’t going to steal anything,” Gray said. “But, I take full responsibility for what I did.”
Gray’s attorney, Charlie Johnson, said Gray had employment waiting for him. “He has been incarcerated since August 22 and has shown a lot of remorse,” Johnson said.
Williams ordered Gray to pay restitution within 30 days and ordered the home incarceration to be installed with alcohol monitoring.
Jerry C. Riggleman, 60, of Moorefield will come back to court on Dec. 18, after he determines if he can afford home incarceration.
Riggleman was indicted in October on two counts of stalking. He was remanded to jail on Nov. 9 after he tested positive for drugs. He also tried to smuggle an unknown substance into the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail.
“I’m not opposed to home incarceration,” See said. “I want to see if he can stay away from the victim.”
Williams set a list of conditions Riggleman must follow if on home incarceration. They include enrollment in the South Branch Day Report Center and a drug detection patch, which cost between $175 and $200 per month. In addition, the home incarceration cost is $85 per month.
“I’m not sure if I can afford all that,” Riggleman said.
Riggleman was remanded to the PHRJ until the Dec. 18 status hearing.
Bradley S. Skipper, 28, of Fisher, was remanded to the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail for 60 days for violating the terms of his probation.
Skipper was convicted in 2016 of fleeing a law enforcement officer in a vehicle with reckless indifference for the safety of others. He was placed on probation for five years.
In November, Skipper tested positive for marijuana, oxycodone and cocaine.
Jonie Nelson, Skipper’s attorney argued he would loose his job if sent to jail for more than 30 days.
Williams said he would consider allowing Skipper to serve the 60 days on weekends, if his employer would provide a letter of his continued employment.
Second degree robbery charges were dropped against James M. Cantrell, 32, of Petersburg and he was charged with one count of unlawful assault and one count of entering without breaking on an Information Petition to the court.
Cantrell’s attorney Brian Vance told the court the charges resulted from a purse-snatching at Wal-Mart in June. The penalty for robbery in the second degree is 5 – 18 years in prison. “As part of the plea agreement, the state agrees to dismiss the robbery charge,” Vance said.
The penalty for unlawful assault is not less than one year or not more than five years in prison or 12 months in the regional jail and a fine of not more than $500. The penalty for entering without breaking is not less than one year and not more than 10 years in prison. The state recommended the sentences run concurrently.
Cantrell pleaded guilty to entering the Wal-Mart in Moorefield and following the victim before grabbing her purse.
“I can’t imagine how fearful a lady would be when a man grabs her purse and runs with it,” Williams said as he accepted Cantrell’s guilty plea, ordered him to pay $50 restitution and ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
Williams also recommended Cantrell enroll in the states Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program.
Oliver J. Mentor, 24, of Moorefield, pleaded guilty to one count of malicious assault. He was originally indicted on charges of domestic battery and strangulation as the result of a domestic altercation. As part of the plea agreement, the other charges were dismissed.
Mentor’s attorney, Brian Vance, argued the situation was “mutually combative” and both parties had a “history of violent behavior.”
Mentor told Williams, “I agree, I shouldn’t have put my hands on her. I should have just walked away.”
Williams accepted Mentor’s guilty plea and the state’s recommendation of 12 months in jail with credit for time served.
Williams also ordered Mentor to pay restitution, a $100 fine, court costs and attorney fees.
“This needs to be the end of your criminal career,” Williams said.
Todd P. Davis, 56, of Lost City, pleaded guilty to one count of failure to provide support to a minor. According to See, Davis is more than $8,000 in arrears for child support.
As part of the plea agreement, Davis’ sentence will be held in abeyance for three years. If he pays the arrears and remains current with his support, the felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
“If you don’t comply, you could be sentenced to a felony which means you could be sentenced to not less than one year and not more than three years in prison,” Williams said.
Davis admitted he was in arrears, but said, “at one point I was ordered to pay more than I was making, so I got behind.”
Also, as part of the agreement, the state recommends, when the three years have passed, Davis be put on one year probation.
The case against Coleman C. Coppe-Strawder, 36, of Moorefield, was continued until Jan. 4, 2018.
Coppe-Strawder filed a plea agreement, but his attorney, Brian Vance, presented additional evidence and asked law enforcement to investigate.
Coppe-Strawder was indicted on two counts of forgery, one count of uttering a forged writing and one count of obtaining residence with worthless check.[/private]