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Moffitt enters guilty plea

By Staff | Aug 19, 2009

Jennifer A. Moffitt, 31, of 1422 Pleasant Ridge Road, Sistersville, entered a plea of guilty before Judge Mark Karl on Aug. 18.

Moffitt was initially charged with one felony count of operating a clandestine drug laboratory on July 17, 2008. Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee stated, “A conviction for attempting to operate a meth lab was obtained today due to the hard work of local law enforcement, particularly the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department. These investigations are difficult and time consuming. We cannot operate on hearsay and gossip, we need evidence and we need citizens to help us in these endeavors.”

He added, “The defendant will be sentenced by the judge, following a pre-sentence investigation by the court’s probation officer and a full and frank sentencing hearing. The state intends to seek the maximum sentence, to deter others who would engage in this depraved and dangerous business.”

Furbee also stated, “Under law, my job is not only to vigorously prosecute cases, but to see justice done. One of the dismissed counts turned out to be defective based on lab testing. The other dismissed count can be interpreted to require proof that we may not be able to sustain at a trial. The defendant pled guilty to the charge where the evidence arrayed against her was absolutely incriminating. It is fair to her, and the sentencing procedure will be the same as if she had been convicted at trail. It is fair to the county; the conviction has been obtained and the expense of trial has been saved. In the end, the judge will fix the defendant’s sentence, weighing her arguments and the state’s. That’s what courts of justice are supposed to do. In getting to that point, though, it takes a community effort-law enforcement and citizens working together to build the kind of community we want to live in.”

Sentencing for Moffitt was set for Oct. 1, at 11 a.m.

Moffitt asked the judge that she be off home confinement so that she may look for work. Karl told Moffitt to contact Probation Officer John Lantz and Sgt. R.D. Pratt in regard to the matter.

Joseph M. Pachuta, 48, of H.C. 60 Box 116, Lima, also appeared before Karl. Pachuta was charged with one felony count of kidnapping or holding hostage and one misdemeanor count of domestic violence stemming from incidents that occurred at his residence on Feb. 25.

Pachuta’s attorney, John Butler, asked for a motion for a release of Pachuta’s medical and physiological history record. Karl granted the request. Pachuta is to appear back in court on Sept. 24 at 1:30 p.m.

Also on this week’s docket was Harold Smith, 54, of 100 S. Wells St., Sistersville, who is facing four counts of sexual assault in the first degree by subjecting a child to sexual contact who was incapable of consent because she was less than 11 years old and not married to the defendant alleged 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 alleged to have occurred in 1982.

Smith was indicted on all counts on June 10, 2008.

Attorney George Cosenza, who is representing Smith, was present at the hearing, as well as Worthy Paul, the special prosecutor for the case. The case is being continued as motions are going to be filed. A 404(b) hearing to determine if certain evidence is admissible will be held on Sept. 2, at 10 a.m.