Jury says, Sherman is guilty
After two days of testimonies, a Sisterville man hung his head when the jury charged with determining his fate came back with a guilty verdict on Thursday, April 15.
Robert Sherman, 59, of Smith Ridge Road was found guilty of the felony charge of manufacturing of a controlled substance. Before the trial got started, Sherman entered pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance (Marijuana).
Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee was the first to call the state’s witnesses to testify: Cpl. Shannon Huffman with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office who was the leading officer in the case; Sgt. Dean Pratt also with the Sheriff’s Office; Stacey Lynn Taylor, a specialist employed by the West Virginia State Police drug lab in Charleston; and Tyler County Sheriff Bob Kendle.
Furbee argued that Sherman voluntarily made and signed the confession statement in his kitchen the night after he voluntarily gave consent to search his house. Officers found two coffee containers filled with Marijuana during the search.
Furbee stated that Huffman filled out the questions and filled in Sherman’s statements himself. According to Huffman, this is standard procedure.
Furbee informed the court that Sherman was telling the officers the truth the night his home was searched but changed his mind, claiming that he was forced into giving that statement.
When Kendle took the stand, Furbee asked him if he ever heard Huffman make the statement, “If you don’t let us search the house, we will tear the house apart and break out all the windows?” To which Kendle replied, “Absolutely not.”
“I would have stopped Huffman right there if he made that statement, I don’t let any of my deputies do that”, said Kendle.
Defense Attorney Joseph McFarland then brought his witnesses to the stand. He called Kay and Benny Beagle, Ed Dalrymple, Sherman’s finance Joyce Scmink and the defendant himself.
McFarland argued that the six marijuana plants found on Sherman’s property were not his and that Sherman was forced to giving a false statement, agreeing the plants were his because he was in fear of the officers tearing his house apart.
The witnesses all testified that Sherman and his finance were not at home around the time the plants would have been planted in the Spring of 2009, stating the couple was out of the state due to deaths in the family.
After closing arguments from both Furbee and McFarland, it took the jury 35 minutes to return with a guilty verdict.
Judge Mark A. Karl continued Sherman’s formal bond and ordered him to return back on May 28 at 2 p.m. for sentencing.