Four appear in front of Judge Mark Karl
By HEATHER SMITH
Howard Wells, 39, of 1415 Pearl Street, Moundsville, appeared before Judge Mark Karl in Tyler County Circuit Court Sept. 3, facing charges of felony welfare fraud alleged to have occurred between October 2002 and October 2004.
Wells entered a guilty plea, withdrawing his previous plea of not guilty.
“I gave false information to obtain welfare benefits and to get food stamps,” Wells stated.
Wells was sentenced to one to five years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men. Wells’ attorney, John Gainer, asked the judge for two years probation instead of jail time. Karl granted the recommendation of two years probation and ordered Wells to pay $2,032 in restitution to the Department of Health and Human Resources.
Also, appearing was Patrick S. Neff, 42, of East Charles Street, Sistersville. Neff was sentenced to 30 days in jail for disorderly conduct and public intoxication on March 9. However, on April 1, when Neff showed up at the North Central Regional Jail to serve his sentence, he was reportedly intoxicated and was consequently sent home. As per jail policies, inmates cannot be admitted under the influence of alcohol.
As a result, Probation Officer John Lantz issued a warrant for Neff’s arrest and he was apprehended on June 15 and transported to the NCRJ. When Karl asked Neff where he was during the time in question. Neff replied that he spent three days in a rehab center in Ohio for his drinking problem.
When asked by Karl, Neff stated it was a Salvation Army center in Ohio.
Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee recommended Neff’s probation be suspended. Furbee stated there was no evidence proving Neff was in a rehab center during the time he was to serve his sentence. Karl granted Furbee’s motion to suspend probation and Neff was sent back to the NCRJ.
Michael S. Walker, 37, of 142 Pine Lake Drive, Scott Depot, W.Va., was charged with felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing death.
The incident occurred Nov. 23, 2008. Deputy J.K. Maston investigated a single-vehicle crash that occurred along W.Va. 18. Maston took a statement from Walker admitting to being the driver of the vehicle. A statement was also taken from a witness to the crash. The witness said Walker came up behind him at a high rate of speed and was tailgating him. The vehicle then passed the witness in a non-passing zone and continued on at high speeds. Walker lost control and crashed, killing the passenger, Paul J. Lyttle III, 36, of Charleston.
Walker was released on bond awaiting the results of a blood test from the hospital. Walker’s hearing date is set for Sept. 29 at 1:30 p.m. His trail date will set in October.
Jessica E. Grimes, 29, of 237 Klondike Avenue, Sistersville, entered a plea of guilty before Karl. Grimes was charged with the felony offense of acquiring possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, forgery, or subterfuge. Grimes is alleged to have obtained oxycodone from Prunty’s Pharmany in Middbourne on Feb. 6. Along with her attorney, Gainer, she will return to court on Oct. 20 at 1 p.m.