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Furbee debuts as Prosecutor

By Staff | Jan 14, 2009

THE JUSTICE LEAGUE — Newly elected Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee (left) and recently appointed Assistant Prosecutor Gary Rymer (right) confer with before court. Furbee defeated Dean Rohrig in the November general election.

Newly elected Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee made his court debut Jan. 8 before Circuit Judge Mark Karl, representing the state in eight criminal matters.

The state is on the verge of negotiating a plea agreement with Jennifer A. Moffitt

Moffitt, 31, 1422 Pleasant Ridge Road, Sistersville, is charged with one felony count of attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, one felony count of possession of substances to be used as a precursor to manufacture of methamphetamine, and one felony count of exposure of children to methamphetamine manufacturing. She was represented by Kevin Neiswonger, filling in for Attorney David White.

“I spoke with Mr. White on the phone yesterday,” explained Furbee. “This case is still in the throes of plea negotiation at this time. We are due discovery from the defendant.”

The case was continued until the next term of court, which begins Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.

Furbee recused himself from representing the state in the case of Harold Smith.

Smith, 53, of 100 S. Wells St., Sistersville, is charged with the felony offense of sexual abuse in the first degree, two felony offenses of sexual abuse by a custodian, and one felony charge of sexual abuse in the first degree.

Unconnected to the above mention charges, Smith is also charged with four counts of sexual assault in the first degree by subjecting a minor child to sexual contact who was incapable of consent because she was less than 11 years old and not married to the defendant to have occurred in 1977 and 1978. He was further charged with two counts of sexual assault in the third degree by engaging in sexual intercourse with the above mentioned minor to have occurred in 1982.

Smith is represented by George Cosenza. Due to a conflict of interest, Furbee asked for a new representative for the state to be assigned the case.

“I was advised that there is a conflict with Mr. Furbee and his office in this case,” stated Karl. “I will defer any further action in the case. Mr. Furbee has given me a request for a special prosecuting attorney to be appointed.”

The case has been continued indefinitely until the next term of court. Karl was unsure when a specific date would be set.

“(With) the history with the Prosecuting Attorneys Institute, it may be 30 to 60 days until a new prosecutor could be assigned,” said Karl.

A motion to continue was filed by the state in the case of Travis Wayne Williams.

Williams, 24, of 1481 Lake O Pines St., NE Hartville, Ohio, is charged with felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver by unlawfully possessing marijuana. He is represented by Jacqueline Hallinan.

“The physical evidence regarding the alleged marijuana was not sent to the State Police laboratory until December 22, which is about three weeks ago,” said Karl, explaining the reason for Furbee’s motion. “Mr. Furbee indicated on January 2 he contacted the lab and indicated it had not been analyzed. At that time Mr. Furbee filed his motion to continue the trial, which was filed last week.”

The case was continued to Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.

After several months of delays, William L. Neff was finally given formal arraignment.

Neff, 59, of Route 1 Box 221 A1, Middlebourne, is charged with one felony count of manufacturing a controlled substance. Neff was indicted back in Oct., but formal arraignment was postponed while Neff finished serving a misdemeanor sentence at the North Central Regional Jail. His arraignment was further delayed until he could hire an attorney.

Attorney John Butler is representing the defendant and asked for a continuance.

“As it’s been so late in the term for Mr. Neff to be arraigned, I’ve discussed it with the Prosecuting Attorney’s office and we are going to move that this case be continued until the next term of court to allow me to prepare an investigation and to formally request discovery from the state,” stated Butler. “I’m in the process of doing that.”

Neff will return to court Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.

Hearings involving Gregory Baker and Abe Wildman were also continued until Feb. 10. Joshua Allan Maxey will return Feb. 5 at 10 a.m., and Michael Stevens will return Jan, 20 at 10 a.m.

The following cases were continued on a Jan. 13 hearing: John Russell Freed, Shawn W. Long, and Melissa J. Wildman. All three cases will be heard again Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.